Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Weight of a Sword

Article Originally Posted At: The Ironforge

I once got into an argument about how much swords weighed. In retrospect I probably shouldn't have gotten vocal on the topic in a Red Robin. But honor had been stained, and I could not back down. Unfortunately the only weapons available were knives and forks, and those do not make for epic duels. But had it come to a duel, I would have easily won because my opponent would have picked a weapon that corresponded to what he thought swords weighed.

Meaning he would have tried to fight me with the equivalent of a fifty pound dumbbell.

He might have been under the impression that he was Cloud.

The fight would have been short, and it would have been painful. And at the time I would have gladly gone all the way, because I was furious.

Please keep in mind I do not endorse murder, not even when it is done with an awesome sword. I fully admit that I was in the wrong just by arguing, or at least getting vocal to the point that our argument disturbed the other guests. There's a time and place for everything, and a restaurant is neither a dueling field, nor is it the internet.

So please keep in mind that I know I was wrong to react the way I did. If given the chance I would have approached the situation in a completely different fashion.

Though really I probably wouldn't have. The guy was a jackass, plain and simple. Pardon the language. But he was the kind of smug prick that thought he knew everything, or at least acted that way. I didn't mind it when he talked about topics I either knew nothing about, or just didn't care about. But the moment he started talking about something I was not only very familiar with, but also quite passionate about (as you will see), I could not let his fallacy go uncorrected.

It began, innocently enough, with a discussion about how to make easy money. He, we shall call him Igor, put forward the idea of selling replica swords just by cutting them out of a sheet of metal. I told Igor that nobody would pay for that kind of crap. Among other things the balance and weight would be completely off. It would be obvious even to the uninitiated that the swords were fake and worth no one's time or money. Obviously anyone willing to spend money on a sword would know enough to recognize utter garbage when they saw it. Especially when the suggested crap would make the Uruk-Hai swords look like crafted masterpieces (at least those went through a proper forging process).

"Lurtz use tears of children for quenching."

Igor countered with, "Nobody would be able to tell the difference. And swords are so heavy anyway, it wouldn't make a difference."

I replied that, "They really weren't that heavy. The heaviest ones were five pounds at worst."

"What? That's ridiculous, they weighed at least fifty pounds."

"Fifty pounds? There's no way anyone would be able to use that. Medieval Europeans weren't so stupid that they'd build weapons they couldn't possibly wield effectively."

"They could use them," Igor said. "They were all buff, like Samoa here."

At this point Igor turned to our Tongan friend, who shall be named Samoa, to protect the innocent.

"Could you use a fifty pound sword," Igor asked.

"I don't know, maybe," Samoa said, clearly uninterested in our dispute.

I tried to point out the fallacy of assuming that Europeans could match Tongans for pure brawn, but my logic was of course ignored. I was also certain that Samoa didn't want to be involved in the discussion, and since he could, and had, attempted to stab me with a knife for fun before, I didn't press the issue.

Of course the only reasonable thing to do was point Igor in the direction of accurate reading material, to allow him the chance to atone for his crime of ignorance if he so desired. But my generous offer was met with a scathing reply.

"You're just like the people who try and give use stuff to read from their church, trying to prove us wrong."

Did I mention that I was on a mission for my church, sitting in Red Robin with all the other missionaries from our district, having an argument about how much swords weighed? Because I totally was.

The discussion pretty much ended there. What else could I say in the face of such extreme douchery? Pure, focused logic, and academic effort was no match. I could point him towards legitimate research. I could have given him a sword, literally thrust it into his hands, and once he cleaned up the blood he still would have found an excuse as to why he was right. There was just no arguing with that, and there lies my only true regret. Well, one of my regrets.

I regret acting like a putz and letting my emotions get the better of me in a discussion that should have been academic. I regret getting into the argument with someone that didn't want to listen in the first place.

But in the end, what I regret most was not carrying a sword with me. Even if he would have ignored the evidence, it would have made my argument just that much more...pointed.

For anyone interested in the specifics of how much swords weighed, check this out. I'm not sure what exactly he's saying, but he uses math to do it. That means he's smart.


zarzarzar said...

or conversely they expect them to way as much as a baton made out of balsa XD

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