John Bracken, 29
McCarren Park, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Tue Aug 25 2009
Photograph: Jay Muhlin
What are you up to? Nothing. I start a new job next week so I have time to kill. I go to the park to read, and I end up staring off into space and just thinking.
What do you think about? Well, I'm a big history buff, so...
You sit around being like, Hmm, I wonder about how in World War I when those guys were killing those other guys... [Laughs] Well, actually, yeah. I'm always thinking about that war. I do French First World War reenacting.
You don't say. Yeah. It's a hobby. We reenact every single aspect of life in the trenches: combat operations and drilling, training in the period tactics...
Isn't your fixation weird, given that tons of people died in that war? No. They're all riveting events, and they're human stories. War is a time when what it is to be human is brought out the most. That's both good and bad.
Funny, I just assumed you were a hipster, but I guess that's a reenactment look. Right, yeah, I mean, I've had a mustache for about eight years now.
Since long before the mixologists stole them. [Laughs] Long before it became ironic. I used to do Civil War reenacting, so I've dressed 19th-century for a while. I used to be repulsed by the idea that people would think I was a hipster, but now I don't care. It's just another social tribe, like thugs and hippies and—
Reenactors! And reenactors! That's right. [Laughs] I just wear my reenacting on the outside.
More from John
"I used to work in e-discovery—it's basically the discovery process of trial where everyone goes out and collects their material. It's amazing how stupid people are—the inappropriate things they send on their work e-mail..."
"My tattoo says: LOVE DRIVES ME BACK TO GROPE WITH THEM THROUGH HELL. It's from a poet, Siegfried Sassoon, who was a British officer in the First World War. It's just one line from a poem of his called 'Banishment' that I really like."
"Fall is my favorite season, so hot damn! You know what's really cool? Go to Cape Cod in October. Route 6 goes through all these so--New England--it-hurts towns. I go after Columbus Day weekend—to Provincetown, because I like being on the very tip. The ocean when it's wintry-fall like that? It's great. I love Yankee land even though I'm from the South originally."