Are you careful who you tell about being a model railroader?

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JDL56

Member
Are you careful who you tell about being a model railroader?

The question came up on another forum, following the death of actor Gary Coleman. He was described by one journalist this way: "Like forlorn men everywhere Coleman had an abiding interest in model trains."

While we know that model railroading is interesting, complex and multi-faceted--not "forlorn" at all--many outside the hobby view it as "playing with trains."

I wrote some reflections about this subject on my blog at http://cprailmmsub.blogspot.com/ I'm interested in your thoughts and reactions.

John Longhurst, Winnipeg
 

ianacole

Well-Known Member
I don't know who said it, but someone once said "the greater the mind the more need for play" (may be an adaption of a Zen philosophy). I'm happy to tell anyone that I participate in the model railroading hobby. If they are inquisitive, I'm happy to tell them about it and show them some of my work (the interwebs is a great way to show folks without having them come to the house). If they are dismissive, as was the writer in your blog, they aren't worth worrying about to educate and are the ones worth dismissing. I think we do a greater disservice to ourselves when we are afraid to be who we are; there's enough dishonesty in the world as it is.
 

Gary B

The Fox Valley Railroad
As a teenager I didn't tell people I was a model railroader or a scale modeler, but now I'll tell most anyone. I find the scale modeler gets dismissed as 'silly' by others quicker than the MR. I'm pretty much what I am and if you don't like it, well. Oddly this approach has led me to discover quite a few people that show at least a passing interest than I may have thought. Everyone needs to do something. I think golf is silly, but each there own.
 

jtudor

Member
I rarely give it a second thought, I have train and depot photos in my office at work, I have one of the Hallmark Great American Locomotives in a case on my desk, so most of my co workers know that I am interested in Trains and models. When an opportunity to discuss MR comes up lI am more than ready to show my interest, though I don't go around pushing it on others.

The only time I ever gave a second thought to discussing it was with a lady friend who never seemed to show interest in hobbies of any sort, for herself or others. Turned out that she was very interested in my hobby. I have never been sure whether she has a real interest in MR or is just interested in it because I am. :cool:

I think we do a greater disservice to ourselves when we are afraid to be who we are; there's enough dishonesty in the world as it is.

Either way, I have to agree with ianacole, that we only harm ourselves when we try to deny who we are.
 

Railphotog

Railroad Photographer
I never hesitate to mention I'm into model railroading if the occasion occurs. When I was working I had several enlargements of my models on my office wall. When someone expressed an interest in the photos, I had to tell them they were of my models and not the real ones.

I have a real railroad switchstand in front of our house, with a target and an operating lantern mounted. Sometimes people ask if I worked for the railroad because of the stand. I tell them, nope, I was with the Canadian Coast Guard for 35 years and have no desire to have a buoy on our lawn!
 

rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Are you careful who you tell about being a model railroader?

The question came up on another forum, following the death of actor Gary Coleman. He was described by one journalist this way: "Like forlorn men everywhere Coleman had an abiding interest in model trains."

Generally I go along with Railphotog... There are some people I don't advertise that I have some expensive models down cellar, but.... Generally yes, I am very proud to be a part of "The World's Greatest Hobby"! I have had several professional artists oogle at the scenery on my layout and have had interest in my work from both other MRRs and people who are not in the hobby. Nothing to be embarrassed about from my point of view.

BTW, I think that journalist needs to get a life. Wonder which bar he hangs around in on his off duty time?:rolleyes: So which of these folks is he/she considering to be "forlorn"? http://www.boldts.net/TrainsCelebs.shtml
 

RW&C

N Scale with Stone Tools
A few of my friends think my modeling is sort of stupid, but I think the same about them still playing pokemon, so it's all good. :)

I don't know if I'd bring it up on a first date ("I've got a train set in my parents' basement!" might not go over too well) but I don't go out of my way to hide it. Once people realize it's more than a little oval on the carpet they usually think it's pretty cool.

That Kirk line's going in my signature. :)
 

Rico

BN Modeller
The big joke among my friends is when the phone rings in the hobby shop and we say "If that's the girls we're not here... they think we're watching boobies down at the bar!"
Can I say boobies here? You know, the birds that went extinct many years ago?
 

Littlefoot14

Active Member
I dont tell anybody. Plain and simple. My family knows im into trains but other than that, only about 2 other people who have mutual interest. To be honest, if someone were to come to my house they wouldnt even know that theres any trains in the house. Theyre packed away until after college. Sure ill dig them out and run them on occasion, but for now they live on a shelf in my room or a box under my desk. Theres really no reason to tell. Sports, girls and grades are more important to me right now. Eventually ill build a layout, but it doesnt make sense to do it now.
 

tomustang

I'm Blunt..
I don't care what people think, especially Journalists who make money spicing up stories

I think it's pathetic how others can judge and publicly speak, usually means they are hiding something
 

Beachbum

Member
There's a line very much like that in one of the original Star Trek episodes. The title of the episode is 'Shore Leave'.

Dudes. You're model railroaders AND Trekkies? :eek: Bet the ladies are beating down your doors... :rolleyes: :D

Just ribbing you (us). I'm fortunate - my significant other encourages my MR plus she lives about 150 yards from a CN mainline with a clear view from her living room. AND she wants an N-scale layout for herself. Former SOs have seen MR-ing as silly or childish and some went so far as to say so.

Anyway, I neither announce nor hide my MR-ing and railfanning just as I neither announce nor hide our ballroom dancing, camping, gardening, watersports or church affiliation. If it comes up or somebody asks, I share my interests. If not...
 
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zoegraf

Craftsman at heart
When I was a young teen, I lived in a slum and it was wise to avoid telling anyone that I was a model railroader especially the bullies. In my late teens I didn't have a layout due to the lack of space.
When I was single, I only avoided mentioning I was a model railroader at Salsa dances. This venue can be a very machismo scene. When I wanted to keep the gold diggers at a distance, I would mention to them that I was a model railroader and loved rabbits; that usually worked. Although, some thought it was "cute".
Most people are surprised when I tell them that I'm a model railroader. For some reason they have a stereotypical image of what a model railroader is and I suspect some model railroaders are guilty of this too. I often am approached by security at model railway shows to show my registrant ID.
I know that a lot of people were surprised to find out that Rod Stewart was a avid model railroader.
 

Larry

Long Winded Old Fart
I tell everyone, even the people in line at WM & I wear a lot of Tee shirts w/"I Still Play w/Trains" & on the other side of the shirt is usually a pic of my layout. I got a call today from a man in Miami, Fl. that I met at a hospital down there 4 years ago. He still had my business card about trains & called to say he was bringing his 11 yr. old Grandson all the way up here next week to see my trains. That's a 170 mile trip one way.
I hand out business cards all the time when I see someone buying Thomas trains in WM or other stores.
 

zoegraf

Craftsman at heart
I don't care what people think, especially Journalists who make money spicing up stories

I think it's pathetic how others can judge and publicly speak, usually means they are hiding something


Good on you!
I know many that work in the media and film industry. They work long hours sometimes up to 17 hours a day. They're probably envious that someone would have time to have a hobby. Though I must admit, the people I know in the film industry do appreciate the skill and artistic aspects of the hobby. A screenwriter once wanted me to build a layout for him, but changed his mind after I gave him a quote.
 

zoegraf

Craftsman at heart
Are you careful who you tell about being a model railroader?

The question came up on another forum, following the death of actor Gary Coleman. He was described by one journalist this way: "Like forlorn men everywhere Coleman had an abiding interest in model trains."

While we know that model railroading is interesting, complex and multi-faceted--not "forlorn" at all--many outside the hobby view it as "playing with trains."

I wrote some reflections about this subject on my blog at http://cprailmmsub.blogspot.com/ I'm interested in your thoughts and reactions.

John Longhurst, Winnipeg

Good article John.
 

zoegraf

Craftsman at heart
Dudes. You're model railroaders AND Trekkies? :eek: Bet the ladies are beating down your doors... :rolleyes: :D

Just ribbing you (us). I'm fortunate - my significant other encourages my MR plus she lives about 150 yards from a CN mainline with a clear view from her living room. AND she wants an N-scale layout for herself. Former SOs have seen MR-ing as silly or childish and some went so far as to say so.

Anyway, I neither announce nor hide my MR-ing and railfanning just as I neither announce nor hide our ballroom dancing, camping, gardening, watersports or church affiliation. If it comes up or somebody asks, I share my interests. If not...

Like you, I don't go out of my way to announce it; just like I don't about my other interests and hobbies.
My significant other appreciates my hobby and so does her family. She has her own train and track that she puts under the X-mas tree with her winter village. Most of my vehicles and people on my layout were gifts from them.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Well at age 75 I aim to keep my mind active. I don't have a layout right now but I plan to start one this fall, at present I have enough challenges to become mentally fatigued.
Now journalists, critics nay Sayers can express it any way they please and I really could care less except for how the effects their negativism affects others.
With regard stupid remarks from journalists I believe the following takes the Boobie prize
At the retirement of what was left of a fleet of fighter aircraft (that never should have been purchased) the journalist who covered the event stated that the aircraft was fondly called the "Widow maker" by those who flew them. I found this quite interesting as I knew pilots who sat at their desk jobs and were terrified they'd be called to fly them. Some were called and perished in the crash.
The name was attached after quite a few of them went in along with their pilots leaving not too few widows behind. So much for the journalists researching the material before they open their mouths and stick their foot into it.
At my age I have a choice, use my mind for challenging tasks to ward off dementia, or to vegetate and let dementia claim me until I have no idea of who I am and what my hands are for. As a board member of a local Manor I personally saw people much younger than myself in the dementia ward, it certainly left an impressive but a very unsettling memory for me.
A couple of little stories, then I'll shut up, I promise :D
A brother in law was a law enforcement officer. He retired healthy and without problems a few years back. Each day down to the coffee shop and tak shop with the old pals. However the old pals retired and new LEO's took their place, then he was alone. His job and family were everything to him no hobbies. The short story is now he cannot recognize who is who in his own family. It's my belief a hobby such as Model Rail could have prevented or certainly warded off the dementia for a much longer time. The man is younger than I am, I feel very sorry for my sister and the family.
We have L,E.O,'s on this forum who are very active in the hobby and I'm darn sure they won't be suffering the same fate.
I can recall back in the 60's a co worker who told us of his purchase of model engines (brass steamers none the less, and I could have got them for a pittance) I had no interest and thought I'd have a bit of fun and asked him if he wore a RR cap while running his trains. His reply " matter of fact, Yes" end of fun (he couldn't care less what anyone thought and it was all forgotten.
Well as I remember the price of those brass steamers was $20 to $30 each :eek: and I could have had all of them, silly me eh!

SO! be proud of what you do, your hobby may just be the best medicine in the world for you. There is absolutely nothing shameful about the hobby except denying participation in it.

Cheers
Willis
 
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