by Viscount Sir Galen of Bristol
©2004, Paul T. Mitchell,
This work may not be reproduced in any form, written or electronic, without the permission of the author.
My Dear Wormwood,
We shall now discuss (overdue though it is) what sort of company your patient should be keeping in the SCA.
You should be wary of what a wide variety of people your man may meet at fighter practices, meetings and events. Some of these will be pleasant, virtuous people, families even, who could inspire him to truly become as chivalrous, courteous and honorable as he is actually able to become. They might teach him to strive to improve himself and, worse, his conduct. Some of these are even devout religious folk, Christians, Jews, even Pagans, who adhere strongly to virtuous comportment and good values. For him to fall in with such as these could lead to a defeat of the first order. Horrible to think of, always trying to do better, and never satisfied, and trying to do still better, and better still, until he is thought a saint, and still not satisfied, and trying to improve his conduct.
Even single individuals may exhibit some of these perverse and unnatural (we have done well with that word, haven’t we!?) behaviours. Beware of them. Let your man be bored of them. Whenever they start telling anything but war stories, let him start thinking (or better yet, talking) about fighting, or wenching, or drinking, without listening to their talk of honor. Guard your patient carefully from these.
Instead, teach him that he really likes to go drinking with the louder, less reserved group. He wants to be accepted by what we teach him to think are his peers. Teach him to pretend to enjoy bad beer, bad belly dancing, bad practical jokes and bad singing late into the night. Help him learn the virtue of staying up drinking late into the night and then fighting while hung-over. And make sure he never stops shouting pseudo-clever insults about swashbucklers to gain his comrades’ approval.
Make sure he realizes that he has more important things to do than help a lady with her load, and keep reminding him how chivalrous and honorable he is. Teach him to say that his honor is in his heart, and he needn’t show it outwardly.
His company, by such a large degree, determines his measure. But don’t let him realize this; if he does, remind him how the Enemy walked among sinners, but don’t let him remember what the Enemy actually did with and said to those sinners. If this fails, remind him that he shouldn’t think himself “too good to associate with the likes of” them. In fact, that’s exactly what the Enemy wants him to think, to keep company with virtuous folk. He is much too young for missionary work, but he needn’t realize that.
Your affectionate uncle,