Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"It's Just A Hobby!"

What would you say if I told you of a stamp collector that purchased a stamp for $950? Would you say that he takes his hobby seriously?
What would you say if I told you of a coin collector who just purchased a coin for $1195? Would you say that she takes her hobby seriously?
How about the person who spends thousands of dollars restoring their classic 1941 Ford Coup to take to the car shows at the local bowling alley parking lot every Wednesday night during the summer months? Let's not forget the sign he has placed upon it that says "Do not even BREATHE on this car"? Would you say he takes his hobby seriously?

Would you say that the above hobbies are "just a hobby"?

I believe that the above hobbyists would take offense to the 'just a hobby' statement.
So, why is reenacting any different?
To sack coat cost $240, my pants (2 pair) $120, my shirts (2 pair) nearly $60, my waistcoat/vest $80, my shoes $110, socks $6 a pair (multiple pairs), my hat $40, my ties (2 of them) $40, and my underdrawers (2 pair) $40. Oh yes, and my period winter wool coat $150 (made by a friend).
Total that up and you'll find nine hundred bucks spent just on my period clothing.
Do you think I take my hobby of reenacting seriously?
I haven't even told you about my wife's clothing and accessories. Nor have I mentioned my two oldest son's Union uniforms, leathers, accouterments, brogans, or the two muskets. And what about my youngest son and my daughter's clothing?
Heck! I haven't even included our tent and fly, my postmaster supplies, our period dishes and glasses, children's toys, gas to get to the events...
One would definitely say that I take my re-enacting hobby seriously, I would think.
Now, I did not list the prices of my garments to brag or to be thought a fool of. And, yes, I am aware that their are seamstresses that can save one quite a bit of cash...sometimes. But, no, I write it out because I am sick and tired of folks - other reenactors, mind you - telling me that reenacting is "just a hobby!"
No, it's not.
It is a passion.
It's my solace.
It's a part of my everyday life.
It's what keeps me sane in an insane world.
It is what I look forward to doing on my weekends.

Would I (and so many others in both the civilian and military camps) spend so much of our waking hours studying every aspect of this hobby if it was "just a hobby" ?

Do I expect everyone to take it as seriously as I do? One could hope, but, no, in all reality, I do not expect it. Especially from those who say it's just a hobby.

By the way, I have also been told to "get a life" because I do take it so seriously; because I do spend so much time not only reenacting, but researching my hobby as well (see my previous blog on books to get a glimpse of how I do some of my research).

"It's just a hobby." "You need a life!"
Say that to the guy who spent his life savings purchasing, meticulously restoring, and showing his 1933 Model A at a parking lot car show.
I dare you.


Mrs. G said...

I'm a "whole hog" kind of person too. What's worth doing is worth doing well; it's only money wasted when it's misspent on farby trash. Anything period correct is going to cost you, but the upside is that good stuff has an excellent resale value! Rude people that would tell anyone to "get a life" don't have an opinion worth sharing, in my opinion.



Historical Ken said...

Great comeback - thanks!
Sometimes this sort of thing just gets to me down and writing it out helps - then getting comments like yours' tops it off - - - - -
I appreciate your comments!

Ro the Elder said...

You go, bro. Just smile serenely and remind yourself that opinions are like noses, just about everyone has one. You know what? Until your hobby is being supported by someone else, no one can tell you how to spend your time and money. Besides, I can think of many worse ways to 'escape' and I'm pretty sure re-enacting doesn't show up on a drug screen.

Mrs. G said...

Well, your appreciation of what I said made my day, lol. I guess that's the fundamental human need for community and for those of us who are swimming upstream, we find community here. Or at least a semblance thereof. ;-)


Mike Gillett said...

Points all well taken, Pard. Your comparison to the car enthusiast is especially apt. More than just a collector... we reenactors are much like someone who is into classic car restoration. They spend inordinate amount of time, money and energy to find the car... see the promise in the car... hunt for authentic parts... work and work and polish... study and perfect... many even have to replicate a replacement part when one cannot be found... they go to much blood, sweat and tears to show exactly what a 1938 Willys Coupe looked like, sounded like, felt like, smelled like... and what it was to ride in such a car in 1938! Then they go to extreme effort to show the car... driving hours...

Sound much like reenacting to me.

Hobby, hell, this ain't no stinkin' hobby!