A while back I pontificated on the point that the public, in all of their excitement, may not always phrase their questions as well as they could. The case in point was a young boy I ran into a year or so ago who asked me if it was a "real" fire burning in someone's camp.
Well, it happened to me again. At the South Milwaukee event last June a man walked up and leaned over the ropeline to scrutinize the stacked muskets in the 55th camp. He was pointing and shaking his head and mumbling to his friends when he suddenly noticed me standing there. He straightened, up pointed to the stack and asked: "are those real muskets?" He immediately stammered and corrected himself with: "Not real, I mean, but ... you know, are they old? Are they antiques?"
I gave him my standard line that the stacked muskets were not "real" but authentic reproductions. "Authentic, yeah, that's the word," he said. He then asked if there were any "authentic" items in any of the various camps. I pointed out Fred Dickfoss, who had his wonderful coin collection out on display, and also him told him to try the 2nd Virginia camp, as I know some of the folks in that vicinity sometimes have a few antique weapons along with them.
The tourist thanked me enthusiastically and rushed off in the direction of Fred Dickfoss with his three buddies in tow.
Moral of the story: everyone has different interests, and apparently "real" 18th-century antiques were what this fellow and his friends had come out to see. If I had been rude or catty with him he probably would have gone off in a huff thinking I was a real putz. He may have gone off thinking I was a putz anyway, but at least I was a putz with an answer to his question instead of just a putz standing by bunch of "fake" muskets!