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A Man of a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

The Re-enactment Society

Early in the Twenty-First Century, depression-related, long term staff sickness became a major problem for employers. Small companies with few employees, such as my own, could be particularly disabled by the absence of even one or two key individuals.

When both Mr Jones from Finance and Miss Peterson from Despatches succumbed, I resolved to understand which factors in their lives influenced their moods. I hoped that I could emulate mood enhancing experiences within the work environment and hence promote a more emotionally robust workforce.

I talked at length to these employees and discovered that both were members of historical re-enactment societies. Furthermore, it was this element of their lives which contributed overwhelmingly to their psychological wellbeing.

Mr Jones would spend many hours polishing and enhancing his Roman legionary armour. He would fight campaigns with first century comrades, authentically experiencing the hardships of long marches, tented accommodation, basic food, strenuous labour and battle. Similarly, Miss Peterson would, weekly, endure the stringencies of being a kitchen maid in a medieval castle, yet feel all the better for it.

I commented that pursuit of these pastimes seemed hugely more demanding and time consuming than employment. They agreed, but explained that re-enactments were not ‘real life’ and so did not provoke the stress and anxiety of workaday activity – quite the opposite.

It was this revelation together with the impending collapse of my company - precipitated by the absence of Mr Jones and Miss Peterson - that led to my new and radical strategy. I closed my business as a registered company and re-established it as an Industrial Manufacturing Re-enactment Society.

The affect was immediate. Existing staff continued in their old roles with new enthusiasm and commitment. I was overwhelmed by volunteers wishing to enact the roles of production line operatives, faithful in every detail to the best of earlier employees. Mr Jones and Miss Peterson even forwent the first and sixteenth centuries to embrace this new society with gusto. The obsession of society members was such that I felt obliged to insist they went home at evenings and weekends and try to include other non-society activities in their lives.

Profits increased from production and from the public visiting our factory to enjoy the spectacle of industrial manufacturing re-enactment.

Other organisations soon followed. The rest is history.

Popular with the public remain Saturday Night City Centre Pubs Turning-Out Re-enactment Societies, as police and youths recreate pitched battles between officers and drunken yobs, always stopping at 10.30 pm so participants can enjoy the camaraderie of a pint together before retiring home.

Previously empty churches are full as Religious Re-enactment Societies have allowed people to enjoy the formal and social aspects of religious communities without the mental anguish of evaluating their doctrinal veracity.

The incidence of infectious diseases remains low due to Hospital Cleaning Re-enactment Societies, drawing on the principles of Florence Nightingale.

And, of course, people are able to spectate at all these events due to Public Transport Re-enactment Societies founded on long lost Victorian standards.

Now, in the mid Twenty-First Century, all commercial, governmental and personal activities are undertaken as re-enactments. Commitment and quality is first class, but nothing is considered as real, and so stress-related mental health problems have been eliminated.

Britain has become a true 'Re-enactment Society'.