I had a conversation today at the gun show that gave me something to think about. Actually, this was something that I’ve been pondering for a while now.
How do you describe yourself? What is your identity?
If someone asks you, “Who are you?” — What do you say? How do you finish the statement, “I am a….”? What is your label?
As is usual for these gun shows — the flow of traffic can be erratic. For some periods of the show, you can be sitting behind your table, bored out of your skull; then there can be times when there are flocks of people around your table, and you can scarcely keep up with all the questions that are being bandied about.
Being Sunday — historically the slower of the two days of the show — there were many lulls where there weren’t many visitors passing by my table. As is common, I struck up a conversation with the vendor who had the table next to me. The topics of our conversation were varied and random.
At one point, the discussion turned to hunting and fishing. My neighbor said that fishing was his favorite hobby and pastime. I mentioned that I did not have any experience with hunting — but my dad was also an avid fisherman.
As we were talking, I expressed what could only be termed the “Philosophy of Fishing”: When Fishing — you don’t always catch something. If you always caught something, then they would call it Catching — not Fishing.
At this — he said that I “must be a school teacher” because “I was so smart”; and that I was “quite the philosopher”.
At this point, a customer came to his table and started inquiring about some of the rifles that he had on display, so that tangent of our conversation came to an end.
Left to my own thoughts — my first reaction was, “Why can’t this be my job? Why do I have to be ‘something else’?”
But then I realized: “What label do I attach to what I do?” There is no easy description to attach to myself.
It is something that I’d been pondering, in the back of my mind for awhile now. For instance, when filling out a survey or questionnaire that asks for my profession — I was often a little bit stymied as to what to put down.
I mean, Alex can say: “Master Gunsmith”. My sister can say “School Teacher”. My dad was able to say “Printing Press Operator”. My grandfather was able to say “Dairy Farmer”. My friend, Mark, can say “Computer Programmer.”
All definitive, distinct titles that unequivocably answer the question: “What do you do?”
Data Entry Clerk, Executive Assistant, Laboratory Animal Caretaker, Truck Driver, Customer Service Representative — all of these offer succinct descriptions of my past professions.
But what am I now?
“Business Owner” — sounds vague and somehow …. unsatisfying.
“CEO” — sounds too grandiose. (My personal favorite phrase to describe the breadth and depth of my responsibilities is “Jane-of-All-Trades”.)
I finally hit upon the perfect title for my profession — I am a Firearms Dealer. A deceptively simple title to encompass my growing devotion and interest in firearms.
After I finally settled upon a title — I wondered, why can’t this be my job? My profession — why do others assume that this is only a secondary interest for me?