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Close to ten years ago, my sister and her family went to Disneyland, which by that point had purchased the Star Wars franchise. They purchased a Star Wars T-shirt for me which looked like a Stormtrooper's helmet. Apparently, this was a special collector's line of T-shirts that could only be purchased at the Disney theme park.
Flash forward a few weeks. I am wearing that T-shirt at a mall in Charlotte. I'm minding my own business, walking towards the food court. Suddenly, from the other side of the mall (well, almost the other side) I hear the ruckus of a man shouting loudly. I look up and see this man, probably in his mid-twenties, running straight at me. I also realize his shouts are directed at me, though I wasn't sure what he was saying.
My "fight or flight" instinct tends towards fight, and I immediately braced for that fight. He must have seen my reaction, as he pulled up about 15 feet short and stopped yelling. I finally realized what he was saying. Turns out he is a huge Star Wars fan, and recognized my special collector's edition T-shirt from across the mall.
He wanted to know where I got it. He then went on to rather enthusiastically talk about Star Wars for about ten minutes. When he left, I think he was a little disappointed that I wasn't a bigger Star Wars fan than I am. I like Star Wars, but honestly I am no where as huge a fan as he is.
That wasn't the only extreme reaction I got from that T-shirt. Over the course of the next year or two, before that T-shirt finally wore out, I received many remarks and compliments on it. Among them was a cashier at a McDonald's, a college-age girl who was as enthusiastic about Star Wars as the man at the mall. She recognized my collector's T-shirt and gushed on about her love for Star Wars. She even gave me a free apple pie. 😀
So, what does this have to do with community, or meeting like-minded folks?
Think about it. Obviously, there is an organized and enthusiastic Star Wars community. A community which can recognize each other by the clothes they wear.
Flash forward a few years. As a survivalist who is looking for like-minded folks to do community with, I am having little success. I'm really not much of a people person, and meeting new people is hard for me, much less forming lasting relationships. So, I'm trying to figure out how to meet new folks. Then I remember the Star Wars T-shirt, and an idea hits me. Why not trying wearing T-shirts that might catch the eye of like-minded folks? There are all sorts of T-shirts (and sweatshirts), with preparedness and survival related imagery or slogans, as well as various political or religious messages. Most folks won't pay attention to them, but it might spark conversations with folks who do agree with the message. Conversations, that over time, could spark community.
I've been trying out this idea for about a year or so, with some success. It has sparked quite a few comments, and even some conversations (all positive, by the way). But community takes time to build. Still, that first and most difficult step of actually meeting people who might be like-minded, seems a bit easier with this idea. If you really are trying to find community, it might be worth a try.
*** You can find Tim Gamble on social media! Follow at Gab (@TimGamble), Twitter (@TimGambleSpeaks), and TruthSocial (@TimGambleSpeaks)
AD: Proverbs 22:3 T-Shirt - "A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Available in men's, women's, and youth sizes, and in multiple colors.