History in the faking
I’ve always had a deep and abiding passion for history. That’s why I took to Civil War reenactment and why, in the gray fog of this coastal summer mid-morning, I can be found sipping a cup of joe in my encampment, where I’ve been settling into my role for the past month.
It’s begun to feel a lot like home out here. See, I’m a method actor and, when it comes to walking in the footsteps of my great-great-grandfather (Confederate Petaluma Gen. Gerard Fitz I), I spare no detail for historical accuracy. Hell, I haven’t even used toilet paper since I got out here. Speaking of, that coffee sure is hittin’ the spot—time for a historically accurate shit in the woods.
I break down camp, piss on the fire to kill the last of the embers and set out for battle reenactment. But first, I need a cold one at the Washoe House. After all, this could very well be my last chance for a pre-battle beer. Not because I could die; no, we only shoot blanks. But because my wife, Martha, said she’ll leave and take the kids if I don’t stop playing soldier. Such is the woeful life of one enlisted by the confederacy reenactment club.
I shake my head at the folly of womenfolk and sit at the bar of the Washoe House.
“I’ll take a pint,” I say to the bartender, who is sadly not dressed for the occasion. The Rolling Stones shirt and khaki pants combo—very anachronistic. “Did you know that this bar was built in 1859?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool—lot’s of history here,” he replies. “A pint of what? We have some great craft brews and some local IPAs.”
“Just a pint of whatever you got that’s strong,” I say, disappointed.
And so, I have a beer at the Washoe House. And another. And, for good measure, I have a few more. As I drink, I regale my fellow bar patrons with tales of the Washoe of old.
“—-hic,” I say. “And they got too drunk—never made it to—hic—the battle.”
Next thing I know, I’m waking up, surrounded by the rest of the Civil War reenactment club. It’s dark outside and they’re congratulating me on my win. What win, I think. I never even made it to the fight!
“Exactly,” says the club president, proudly wiping a tear from his eye. “You won the most historically accurate soldier of the year award. You did good, son.”
I smile and order myself and the rest of my battalion another round.