The Old Timer was by last week. The late Spring days are warm, the sky is blue and we were at ease. We deserved everything we got and enjoyed. DXers always think that way. And we expect it to continue.
So we sat and talked about things DXing. Over the years one learns that the Old Timer does not push ideas on you, he just hangs them out for you to see, to recognize and hopefully, to remember. Later on we had to realize that perhaps we had started all the discussion that ensued. We were pitching, the Old Timer batting.
Long ago we learned that DXers are the smartest, the tallest, the best looking and always noted for their grasp of philosophy and psychology. DXers understand things. We learned that years back when we read it in a DX bulletin. We never forgot it. We were told it and we did not even have to think about it. The knowledge came easily.
We don't think we should have to point this thing about DXers being the smartest, how handsome DXers are and how astute their thinking. Every DXer knows of this intuitively. It comes with the DXCC certificate. It is there even if at times we have to stop to ponder why. It is one of the eternal truths but we had often wondered why it is an eternal truth. Why are DXers so blessed? We have been thinking about this. Real hard.
We mentioned this to the Old Timer. This we did deliberately thinking that he might have some ready answers. If he did he was not letting them loose. So we continued on our own.
"Years back", we said, "we would think that DXers are the top just because of their behaviour, always so ethical. Except for a few backsliders, that is. But generally a DXer will try to do right and this is often evidenced by his own standards and behaviour. Their judgement is good, their behaviour exemplary and they are always looking for the right action, the right decision and the right and correct approach to any problem. Right?"
The Old Timer grunted, then said: "You mean DXers are noted for their sanctimonious righteousness?" Those were his words but it was not what his eyes were saying.
That was not what we meant at all. We knew there was something there in our thinking that was right but it was eluding our efforts to define it in words. We had to try harder.
"We know that it is there", we continued, "and we believe that other DXers feel it and recognize it as we do. But what is it? And why is it? Do you know?"
The Old Timer did not speak for a bit and we waited. We sure he would but he possibly, as in other times, wanted to be sure that we were ready. Possibly we were. The Old Timer finally spoke.
"DXers generally early on will recognize something special about DX and DXers and often will spend their early years enjoying it but really not able to tell what it is. You have been trying, other have also tried to define the DX Mystique. It is not easily done". Then the Old Timer relapsed into his silence. We were left waiting at the Door of DX Knowledge and we were not being invited inside. It was a hard thing to bear. Finally the Old Timer spoke again.
"Have you every considered that DXers might consider DXing as a somewhat superior activity? Something that one does not just to kill time but rather to reach out around the world and communicate with others who think as a DXer does? Have you never noted that this international fraternalism is implied even in the preamble to the FCC regulations. That part about the fundamental purposes of amateur radio. And especially the item about '...the continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international good will'. Don't you recall that?"
Of course we did. For almost forty years we have remembered that statement. And we long have known that it is absolutely true. Eventually one learns that no DXer ever comes as a stranger. Never!
And if you are a DXer you have friends all around the world. One just has to go to a DX convention, even just a plain amateur radio convention, and you will find that every DXer there is your friend. And you will meet them as friends, long time friends.
"And that feeling might be an unspoken realization that DXers are different", the Old Timer continued, "This need not be said, just recognized. DXers occupy the high ground without needing all the embellishments of phrases, adjectives, slogans, signs, T-shirts and horn blowing. DXers are good and that alone says everything that needs to be said. Right?"
Of course the Old Timer was right. That was just what we had been trying to say. "We knew that", we hastily interjected, "and that was what we were trying to say. We just could not find the words. But we knew they were there". We finished up a big lamely as the Old Timer was listening, a small quizzical smile on his face.
"You say you knew these things but could not put them into words. But would it be better just to know that you are in a group which because of their actions and activities are obviously superior. Or is it necessary to find suitable words to explain what DXers already know and act. In short, do you value the words or the actions?
We again were in the role of a learner. Of course we understood it better. We had understood it all the time. It was just that we could not find the right words to express it.
The Old Timer was soon gone, leaving us in the quiet of a warm early summer afternoon. But we were still thinking. Thinking that a little afternoon nap might be merited after all our heavy thinking. Our brain muscles were aching just a bit. They often do after the Old Timer has been around . . .
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