Thursday, June 30, 2016

Larping in Real Life (MARCH - 2009)

“Watch out for the larpers.” That’s what Alex’s dad told her on the way out of the door to the comic book convention.

This is the why I go to college, to stay on the cutting edge of the larping scene—also algebra.

I said, “I’m sorry. Did you say larper as in someone who larps, or to larp? Would it be correct to say, ‘Sorry I’m late. I’ve been larping?’ Or maybe . . .”

She shushed me with a look. Alex, a member of my writer’s group at school, then proceeded to show us a YouTube video of real, living, larpers. 

Larpers are grown humans who dress in various high school costumes from Mid Summer’s Night Dream, retreat to the woods or comic book conventions, and hurl faux lightning bolts and curses at each other. These folklings are live, action, role-players—larpers.

“In my day, we had a name for people like that—egghead losers—not that there’s anything wrong with being an egghead loser. I, myself, am one,” I said, pushing my thick black eyeglass frames back into place.

“Yes but do you larp?”

I confess; I do not larp.

Instead, I receive phone calls from Iraq from Staff Sergeant Aric Zern to let me know that the U. S. Army will be sending him to the burn unit in San Antonio for skin grafts, and that he’s fine, but he’ll have an interesting scar that looks like flames shooting up his back. 

“But what about your much ballyhooed body armor?”
A Real Life Action Hero!

“It caught on fire,” he said.

“Your body armor caught on fire!?!?” 

“Well, it was a magnesium flare.”

“You mean like vitamins—magnesium and thiamin?”

“Yeah, okay.”

“How does that happen?” I am a mother. I need answers.

“Magnesium flares burn at 3,500 degrees.”

There was silence on my part.

“So it was like a drop of the sun fell on you,” I said, trying to understand.


“But you’re fine.”

“No worries.”

Reassured, I asked, “Hey, what do you know about larping?”

And that’s how we live action role-play at our house. As my mother always said, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” I like to think that we’re strong—Army strong.

Linda (Larp on This) Zern 

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