In Poland, there is a LARP group that plays contemporary Americans. (Courtesy photo)
Life is too serious. The news is serious. World events are serious. My job is pretty serious. Do you have a picture here?
So when I have downtime, I love to laugh. I watch irreverent shows like “Schitt’s Creek” or “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” I read books that are cheerful. And I scroll through TikTok.
I love TikTok. I do not post on the short video app. I don’t like any video.
But I laugh and laugh.
Videos of dogs being silly make me laugh. Kids who play silly pranks on their parents make me laugh. Customer service stories knowingly make me laugh. Mistakes in the kitchen make me laugh.
But I found something last week that made me spit out my iced tea and laugh.
First, you have to know what LARP is. LARP or “Live Action Role Play” is a game and there are all kinds of themes.
According to UrbanDictionary.com, is “a type of game where a group of people wear costumes representing a character they create to participate in an agreed-upon fantasy world. Use foam sticks as swords, foam balls as magic, and other props to create the game world.”
So I don’t like cosplay or LARP, but if it makes you happy, go for it.
And then I found out about a group in Poland who do role-playing games like Americans and they played like “Ohio.”
The images were hysterical. Is this how Europeans see us?
It seems that a Twitter user discovered this and has been sharing this humorous take on American life.
@PenBercifield wrote: “In Poland, there is a LARP group that plays contemporary Americans. They’re doing ‘Ohio’ here.” And it has photos. There are guns, cops, and an outfit that is denim on denim (we were taught by older kids in high school that that kind of outfit was a “Canadian tuxedo,” which is offensive to both Canadians and tuxedos). American flags are displayed. Shorts (think Daisy Dukes) and fight in the ring.
I don’t know. It was surreal.
And it’s not how I picture Ohio. But then again, I really can’t imagine Ohio.
And then I went down the rabbit hole of looking at this guy’s Twitter thread with the Tweet.
And I laughed and laughed.
It really was absurd.
Some of my favorite Tweets in response:
• “They think they represent Ohio when they really represent Kentucky.” (@INTPhilosopher)
• “God, that’s almost right, but they’re a little too close together in the European way. Like those boots are all wrong and she should uncross her legs. That grocery bag on the table should be a single-use plastic bag. No one in Ohio has straight bangs.” (@aquabluejay)
• “I’ve been from Ohio all my life, and I haven’t been to a night boxing match in the woods yet… what am I doing?” (@mbbCLB)
But then I investigated how I do it. And it stopped being funny and became something serious.
According to the LARP Group Facebook Page and Google translate, the group is “Larp 4th of July is a drama about the lost American dream. It is a story of hope, of a small homeland, of finding a place in the community.”
So the LARP group is a performing arts group that has a social issues message to share and it got me down.
“More than two hundred years later, many Americans live in conditions different from those envisioned by the nation’s founding fathers. Barely making ends meet, striving to be family members and worthy Americans despite poverty and exclusion. Although they live on the margins of society, their home, a small town surrounded by caravans and rickety houses, is for them the essence of the ‘land of the free and home of the brave’. This is a story about them,” the expanded information page translated for me, and my spirits sank.
So the seriousness hit me and my own preconceived notions of Poland slapped me in the face.
I did not see Poland as a nation of people who would feel bad for Americans. I mean it was Poland, a nation that I always associated with communism and its adverse effects.
It really pissed me off and sent me looking at the poverty rates in our two nations and more.
I went from laughing to investigating in a matter of moments. Oh good.
Guess I’ll stick to the dog videos to make myself laugh.
Gina Rullo is the editor-in-chief of The Hammonton Gazette. In 2022, she was named “Editor Extraordinary” by Publisher and editor magazine and in 2021 he won two awards for investigative journalism.