Friday, February 26, 2010
Of fobbits, geardos and rooney guns
Back in the days when I wore military uniform, we used to joke about rear-echelon wannabe's (we called them something ruder, that I can't publish on so high-toned a forum as this blog) who dressed in the most 'tacti-cool' manner they could manage. You could bet your next paycheck that if those of us 'up at the sharp end' ran short of camouflage uniforms, or desert boots, or something desirable in the way of equipment, we'd find an unending supply of it in the rear areas, being worn by every wannabe in sight - but would they ship any of it to us, who really needed it? Like hell they would!
These were the same characters who'd dress up their weapons with every attachment known to the human race (and some that not even our armorers could identify), in an attempt to look seriously warrior-like. Needless to say, those of us actually doing the fighting restricted attachments to those that worked every time, and fulfilled a seriously-needed function. If something looked cool, but wasn't really useful, it got 'lost in combat' as quickly as possible. Our rule was reliability first, bling later. (Oh, yes - I don't know when these wannabes ever cleaned their weapons, but if you inspected them, they were usually dusty, sandy and dry as a bone. Fighting soldiers' rifles, on the other hand, were always clean and well lubricated. Since our lives might have to depend on them at any moment, you can bet we took that seriously!)
I've noticed that the US armed forces have developed their own vocabulary to describe such people in recent years. An e-mail from a friend contained the image below (click for a larger version), which he referred to as a 'geardo'.
Intrigued, I looked up 'geardo' on the Internet, and found that it's got its own definition in the Urban Dictionary. It's also associated with the word 'fobbit', which has an amusement value all of its own. I suspect many of those regarded by US servicemen as 'geardos' and 'fobbits' would be instantly recognized as such by the men with whom I served, in another war, on another continent, in another time.
In my Internet search, I also found the 'Private Murphy' cartoons by Mark Baker, which proved very entertaining. Among them was this gem:
All of the Private Murphy cartoons I looked at were very entertaining. Recommended reading.
It seems that teenagers involved with first-person-shooter or roleplaying games are particularly susceptible to 'geardo-itis' (to coin a phrase). This photograph of a wannabe 'geardo' made me laugh out loud, particularly because he's pointing to his gear inspiration - an action figure!
In all my searching, however, I didn't come across any mention of 'rooney guns'. The term was coined by the late, great Col. Jeff Cooper, referring to a firearm that had so many weird and wonderful attachments that it was almost worthless for its primary purpose. Here's an example of what must surely be an 'ultimate rooney' gun.
The Gun Zone has more pictures of 'rooney guns', here, here, here and here. All very entertaining.
So there you have it: fobbits, geardos and rooney guns. Looks like things haven't changed much since my days up at the sharp end . . .