Hollywood and Guns For Hire

Posted: April 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
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People have a pretty vivid picture in their heads of what they would expect a man or woman in my profession to be like in person. A kind of  stereotypical Hollywood version of a hired gun would be my best guess of what would come into the average persons mind if you asked them to describe a mercenary. You probably know the kind I’m talking about: The hard-drinking grizzled looking guy stood at the bar of the toughest drinking house in town with a huge cigar stuck in the corner of his mouth. He is covered in ink, drives a muscle car of some description and has a reputation as a womaniser. His favourite reading material is from the top shelve or maybe a muscle car magazine and he listens to rock music. He drinks Tequila for breakfast, cracks shelled peanuts open with his biceps and probably has some kind of attack dog as a pet that he feeds rare T-bone steaks to whenever he makes it back to his bolt hole after the Tequila has run out and he’s dealt with all of the bad guys.

That is near enough how the movies would have you believe that we all are. And if I am being honest with you there probably are a few knocking about somewhere who are pretty much like that and there are definitely more than a few who wish that they were like that. But I’m not like that and neither are the majority of us. I will admit to having some tattoo’s and liking a drink (although not Tequila as that has a peculiar effect on me) but that is about as far as it goes when it comes to the Hollywood version. I’ll now put you straight and give you a more down to earth version for you to stick away in that mind of yours ready to pull out and dazzle them with should someone ever ask you to describe a mercenary. I should point out that the following will be a few facts based on myself and that any similarities between them and any other contractors life is totally coincidental.

Here we go:

  • I do like a drink and when home do have a favourite pub that I like to go to for a drink. But it is nowhere near being the toughest drinking house in town by a long shot. It’s actually a local family pub that has a good mixture of age groups in it, runs a quiz night once a week and on the odd occasion books in a live band. I do stand at the bar but you wont find me stood there with a huge cigar stuck in the corner of my mouth – it’s against the law to smoke in UK pubs and also I find it hard to talk if my mouth has a huge cigar stuck in it. So it’s pointless. And I have never been referred to as being grizzled.
  • I do have some tattoo’s but I don’t drive a muscle car. I drive a popular family saloon, it’s safe and good on the mileage and gets me from A to B. I’m a dedicated family man with a stunning wife and two beautiful daughters and the only woman who I want to be a ‘womaniser’ with is my wife which probably means that in fact, by definition, I am not a womaniser.
  • I have plenty of reading material but none of the top shelve kind. You’ll more than likely find me curled up with the latest Terry Pratchett novel or maybe something by Stephen King. And when the mood take me I’ll read something to do with military history. I also love comic books, mainly 2000 AD but am just as happy with anything that involves super heroes.
  • I am a huge rock fan but at the same time am just as at home with listening to my classical collection or some power ballads. I also have a secret passion for Abba and The Carpenters.
  • I’ve never started the day with a Tequila although once, when a lot younger, me and some friends all cracked open a can of lager first thing in the morning. We probably thought it made us seem cooler when in fact all I remember it actually did was give me a headache. I much prefer a decent coffee and an orange juice first thing followed by a bowel of muesli and a piece of fruit. Once in a while I like to treat myself to a good old-fashioned British fry-up as a treat with extra mushrooms and bread and butter on the side instead of toast.
  • We have dogs. A Pugalier and a Shih Tzu. They are, as you can probably tell from the names, not attack dogs. The only thing that they are likely to attack you with are their tongues as they go nuts trying to say hello to you. And they probably wouldn’t have a clue as to what to do with a rare T-bone steak even if I ever did throw one at them. More than likely the Shih Tzu would just drag it off to a quiet corner and then sit there and stare at it in a slightly confused way and the Pugalier would probably just jump around it excitedly looking at us with her cute bug eyes for some direction as to what to do. So no, they don’t get steaks. The have for dinner instead a slightly over priced dog food that comes in a small white packet and gets mashed up into their colour coordinated dog bowels which they find much easier to deal with. I do eat steak though – blue not rare.
  • The only time that I have ever tried to crack something open with one of my arm muscles I managed to hurt myself.
  • And when I do head home after a few  pints and a couple of rums it’s not a bolt hole that I head back to. It’s my family home.

I guess I  could also tell you about my fascination with fantasy gaming – like Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer or that I believe in super heroes or even that I wanted a Star Wars themed wedding which my wife, totally unjustly I think, said no too. It would have been awesome. I would have been dressed as Han Solo, my wife as Leia, the daughters as Ewoks, her family as the Dark Side and mine as the Good Side. What could have been better?

So that’s the stereotype blown out of the water.

I guess that if an action movie was to have a ’normal’ person in it as the hero then it just wouldn’t sell. It doesn’t really work if I try to envision Stallone or Arnie driving around in a family saloon singing along to Abba’s greatest hits with a bug-eyed Pugalier waggling it’s tail excitedly in the passenger seat. So I think that from that perspective Hollywood may have got it just right with their version of us.


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