The Long and the Short of it

21 Apr

Since I am not doing any detecting, I spend my time these days reading detecting blogs to sort of fill the need to detect.

One of the blogs I read and a blog I believe EVERYONE should read regularly, is Dick Stout’s blog. Dick has been involved in this hobby from the very beginning and he knew and frolicked with some of the legends of the hobby. So you get a big and unique perspective on all things detecting from him.

Alas!, I will warn you right now, in case you don’t know, Dick is an old curmudgeon from New Jersey now living in Texas (that info alone should tell you plenty about the man) but don’t be dissuaded by this. Dick is the real deal and you will benefit muchly by hearing what he has to say.

A topic close to his heart is the state of detecting today (and often compared to the early days when men were men and silver was the only coinage in the ground). It is hard to disagree with his assessment of the situation. I too, spend a great deal of time thinking about the hobby and here are a couple of thoughts on why things are different today than in the golden age of detecting.

One of the main reasons I believe, as to why things are different today than back in the 70’s is that the general public has had almost 5 decades to form an opinion of the hobby. Why would the general opinion of the hobby affect our hobby you say? I believe that most detectorists’ attitude is greatly influenced by what we perceive to be the public’s view of the hobby. Case in point: when I first began (or re-started) detecting three years ago, I told someone I trust that I was going to do this and her response was “Why??!! they let you dig up the parks like that?!!” And this came from an educated (PhD), open-minded person (on most topics at least, not including metal detecting obviously). Since then, I’ve encountered this attitude over and over. So you can forgive most detectorists out there for not wanting to be overly conspicuous when the public at large sees us as vandals and looters. And yes, I have and still do, proclaim from the nearest soap box, the taking of the high road and the attempting to educate. I will tell you that it is not easy to do it all the time and it really wears on you after a while.
So while I still wish that detectorists would stop hiding and that we would accept that our hobby has as much right to exists as any other hobby, I understand the reticence of my fellow dirt fishers to do so. By the way, on one of Dick’s recent posts, he showed a picture from a detecting convention (!). Wow! Are there any such things anymore?

In the early days of detecting I am told, it was not unusual to come home with 100 silver coins from an outing. This stands to reason since until 1964, dimes, quarters, halves and dollar coins were all made of silver. There was no clad coinage in the ground. There were darn few pull tabs as well. So the ratio of effort to pay out was pretty good. Nowadays, if I can find a silver dime in two or three hunts I am doing pretty good. So you see, it is a lot easier to feel inclined to join a club, care about the hobby and educate people, when you are actually finding cool stuff on a regular basis. I know, I know, this shouldn’t matter but human nature is human nature and we are not going to go out of our way to organize and give a damn if all we are finding when we go detecting are pull tabs and bottle caps and that damn can slaw and fighting concerned citizens and misinformed public servants to boot. We have developed a defensive mentality and the rewards don’t seem enough to overcome it. People in bunkers don’t join clubs and don’t fight city hall.

Steve and I thought we could make a small difference. We have gathered a nice group of people who are not too afraid to get their hands dirty (asides from digging holes). There are things we have done such as Steve reaching out to the city with the end result of us giving metal detecting classes. We even cleaned a park once (hint hint we should do this again).
I think the club ought to plant some trees as the city has lost 1000’s of trees since the drought of 2012 and cannot keep up with the replacements. That’s a long way from national efforts and more active involvement in fights to keep our hobby but it’s a start. The trick remains, how do we get involved even more? How do we elevate our hobby to a position where it becomes important to do more to protect it? How do we get the relic hunters and the coin hunters together as one group?

I have no answers for Dick. I wish I did. But I tell you, the idea of a convention where the metal detecting companies show their wares to us lowly users and where we can attend lectures and such makes me swoon. I have been to COMICON. I wish we had something like that. It would go a long way towards validating our hobby and towards uniting us into a cohesive force. If there is such a thing and I don’t know about it, then there is part of the problem right there.

Anyway, thank you for stopping by.


2 Responses to “The Long and the Short of it”

  1. lawdog1 April 21, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    Might I suggest a COMICON/Metal Detectorist convention? Now that sounds entertaining! Nice write up!

  2. dovetailsanddadoes April 21, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

    We do live in the middle of the U.S.. I remember Mr. Stout mentioning a convention in KC. We have many underused facilities we could hold it at.. Just saying!

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