Learn To Recognize The 25 Signs of
"Civil War Reenactor Burn-Out"
(a public service message by Jonah Begone and
the American Civil War Reenactor Burn-out Association)
Be aware of your mental health and maintain your wellness - take this quiz to examine how burned-out you are from Civil War reenacting. Write a "true" or "false" next to each of the 25 warning signs. When you're finished tally up the total number of "true" statements and follow the advice at the end of the article. Ready? Begin!
1) You take hits during parades.
2) You view battle reenactments as interruptions to the fun of just hanging around camp.
3) You don't bother to lift your forage cap during the "huzzahs."
4) You find singing while on the march acutely embarrassing.
5) You spend more time at the McDonald's than in camp.
6) You complain about the cold, sleepless evening you had in the back of the truck (or in the hotel room).
7) You offer to go on guard duty to avoid drill, and while walking post you desert to fetch water, and then spend the rest of the time waiting at the water spigot for drill to end.
8) You haven't closed a letter with "Yr. Obd't Serv'nt" in years.
9) You don't care if they build a mall in Manassas, Brandy Station or anywhere else.
10) Visiting the sutlers has become boring.
11) You become a color bearer so you don't have to dirty your rifle by firing it.
12) The only time you assume first-person is to tell a member of the public that you don't know what a "restroom" is.
13) You can catch a few winks when firing during the battle.
14) You meet your company at the battle site instead of marching there with them, and/or
15) You meet your company back at camp instead of marching there with them after the battle.
16) At events, what's in your cooler is more important than the number of rounds you made (when you've bothered to make them).
17) On the way out the door to the mega-event of the year you almost convince yourself your lawn needs cutting instead.
18) Every man to your left knows his number is only temporary because you'll disappear from the ranks before long.
19) You start wishing the South had won the war so reenacting would only be a mental exercise.
20) You don't bother to pack a camera into your haversack anymore.
21) You don't care who wins the next reenactment as long as you can get your car out of the muddy "parking lot."
22) While at events you snappishly ask members of the public if they aren't hot in those cotton tee-shirts.
23) You don't care about event sponsors going bankrupt.
24) You're on record as having said "If you've seen one endless column of Federals (or Confederates) you've seen them all."
25) You no longer soak anything in urine to achieve that patina effect.
Less than five answered "true": Go out and buy an officer's uniform and prepare to lead your reenactment unit. Huzzah!
Five to ten answered "true": Reread "Hard Tack and Coffee" and rent the "Glory" video to reawaken dormant interest.
Ten to fifteen answered "true": You're getting terminal. Attend only the more promising events that take place in pleasant weather.
Fifteen to twenty answered "true": There may still be time. Go out and get a lobotomy (or a life).
More than twenty answered "true": No hope remains. Contact the recruitment officer of the closest Revy War, Great War or World War II unit, and tell 'em Jonah sent you.