I was watching an episode of the second season of Top Shot (my wife put it on during dinner the other night...they were throwing tomahawks and my wife knows how much I dig axes in every way, shape, and form), and I was struck my the same thought that struck me when I watched the show in its first season:
What a bunch of nerds.
Now I'm sure many of these sharpshooters are fine human beings, but that doesn't change the fact that they spend a large amount of time honing a fairly useless talent. Ya' know...like playing role-playing games and pretending to be elves and such.
Really. I mean, I guess it's useful if you want to shoot something (or someone) but the value of shooting things (and people) is a fairly debatable point. I mean, learning to play RPGs has given me some math and reading skills anyway...if nothing else, RPGs have helped me to decipher my own taxes every year since I started working, round about age 15.
[fast food, folks]
There are a lot of "nerdy" pastimes available to folks in 21st century America, many of which I engage in ("fantasy football," for example...of what possible value is it to geek out on sports in this way?). I'm not saying this just to be negative or contrary, I'm just pointing out something...a lot of the hobbies that we are blessed with the time and money to pursue are fairly worthless; and often, when we are not caught up in the moment of doing what it we are enjoy doing, I think we realize that.
Is it wrong to pursue such worthless pursuits?
I know that some of the saints and prophets who have come into this world before us would say that. Yes, they would say we should be spending our free time (and money) on pursuits that emphasize humility, compassion, and kindness in support of our fellow human beings. And far be it from me to go against the wisdom of the saints and prophets.
But (and I'm sorry if this seems to be a justification for my own indolence) "to err is human," and I think that it is a deep and sometimes cumbersome challenge to ignore that humans often crave these shallow things that entertain us or fulfill our desires. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," and we are so enamored of not being dull. Or not leading dull lives.
I think that rather than "beat oneself up" for indulging in petty fantasies, one might find what is good, positive, and constructive in any hobby. I'm not sure I can think of such for all hobbies (Texas Hold 'Em? Internet porn?) but there ARE constructive grains within most of our nerdy pastimes...and I'm not just talking about doing taxes.
For a person who studies "the way of the gun," one might consider that what is learned is a respect for life: the fragility of human (and animal) life and the ease with which it may be taken...not to mention the need to protect against the indiscriminate action of doing so. Also, a respect for the awful power of the technology of man: a Glock isn't a cell phone and an M240 is no polio vaccine. That we have made these things is a testament to both our ingenuity and our perpetual madness...and from the study of guns we should learn to respect both of these human "virtues."
Also, the simple fact of the matter is that there will always be those who use guns for the wrong purpose (again, whether or not there is a "right" purpose is debatable), by which I mean "used in the harm of others for the sake of self aggrandizement." And those who DO study the way of the gun should serve as a pillar of integrity to those who do not, an example for others to follow...they can display the right way to respect the discipline and proper use of these tools that have such potential for harm and woe. To those who enjoy firearms I say: your enthusiasm has led you to know the weapon; use that knowledge for good, as a safeguard for and testament against ignorance.
Ugh...I guess I'm feeling a bit guilty today. Personally, guns give me "the willies" even if they are fascinating pieces of destruction in games (or any dynamic, artistic visual medium: comics, film, video games). My non-gamer friend, Jon, would certainly accuse me of "glorifying violence," whatever that means exactly. I suppose it means "having fun imagining I'm shooting imaginary people"...but, hey, I AM a big nerd after all. Pretending to be a one-man wrecking crew is nothing worse than pretending to be the coach of a fantasy football team...at least in my book.
Hmmm...it is obvious I am on my last "mental legs" of the night (it's after midnight, and I just got Big D to sleep with a little bouncing/singing). Tomorrow, I'll have more interesting gaming things to say I'm sure. Sorry for being such a downer!