by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
• How this began
• How big is American Airgunner?
• I’m not Marlon Brando
• I’m not the best at anything
• So, why call myself The Godfather of Airguns?
Several of you have noticed that I have changed the way I sign the blog. I now list The Godfather of Airguns next to my name. I know you’re curious, and Edith has privately responded to several people. Today, I’ll tell you what’s happening. But first, I want to let everyone know that I do not want you to start calling me “Godfather” or start referring to me as “The Godfather.” Please…refer to me as B.B. or Tom.
How this began
I did not pick The Godfather of Airguns for myself. It came about in the fifth season of the American Airgunner TV show when Rossi Morreale was the new host. He had to learn all our names at the roundtable segment of the show, and at one point in an early show he temporarily forgot my name. You know how common that is — right? Well, it happens to TV hosts, too. If they can save it gracefully, they continue filming, and you don’t have to stop and do everything over. When 8-12 people are involved, it gets expensive to do things over. When Rossi forgot my name, he looked at me for a moment and then called me The Godfather of Airguns. He liked it so well that he referred to me that way all the rest of that season (2013) and again for all of 2014. And the title stuck.
I didn’t complain, because stuff like that doesn’t bother me one way or the other. But after Rossi started using that title, others picked up on it and it began to spread.
How big is American Airgunner?
So, people are calling me The Godfather of Airguns on television. But how far will it spread (in other words, how many people will know me as The Godfather of Airguns because they see it on TV)? Let me be brutally honest. If we equate major network television (NBC, Fox, etc.) to the world’s oceans, then popular reality shows like Pawn Stars are like the Great Lakes. In that context, American Airgunner would be a beautiful fishing lake in Minnesota — not huge but not insignificant. That leaves YouTube videos as everything from mudpuddles to koi ponds. It isn’t like Tom Gaylord is suddenly going to be recognized in restaurants as The Godfather of Airguns.
I’m not Marlon Brando
I started getting inquiries about using the title The Godfather of Airguns professionally, and Edith and I began talking about it. As titles go, it’s not bad. It certainly beats The Doofus of Bumtown! And I didn’t give myself the title — it was given to me on television by someone who has at least swum in the Great Lakes, and perhaps even dipped his toes in the vast TV ocean once or twice. So, maybe I should embrace it. This has been going on for 2 television seasons, so it has some momentum. While that sounds like a long time, the truth is that it isn’t. A television season is about as long as a fruit fly’s lifespan. We shoot all 13 of the roundtable segments in two days and have time left over. It takes the rest of the year for those segments to air and then be shown again in reruns.
When I say I’m not Marlon Brando, what I mean is that I’m not that kind of godfather. Brando as The Godfather personality has nothing to do with what I do.
I’m not the best at anything
Some people assume that since I write about guns, I must be a champion shot; but there are plenty of shooters who can outshoot me. Some folks think I know a lot about historical airguns; but when I’m in the classroom with Larry Hannusch, Wes Powers and Ingvar Alm, I’m the one cleaning the erasers. I know something about the operation of pneumatics and gas guns, but gentlemen like Lloyd Sikes, Dennis Quackenbush and Tim McMurray have a Ph.D. compared to my GED.
I never said I was the best at anything, but there is one thing I know how to do: I know how to make connections. If you show up at an airgun show looking for a L’il Oskar air rifle, I’ll find the three that are there (one on the table, one underneath another table and the last one outside in a guy’s car), and I’ll get you talking to the right person.
If I hear about something that airgunners really want — and I’m not taking about one squeaky wheel now, but thousands of like-minded airgunners — I’ll find the right manufacturer to produce it and sell it. If I see a screaming need for something like a good telescopic sight that has a bubble level inside so you never have to take your eye off the target to level the scope, I’ll find someone who can make it. I’m that kind of godfather. Not an enforcer, but an enabler — a facilitator — an expediter.
Sometimes, I get paid for the things I do and other times I don’t. But these are all things I have to do. When I see tens of thousands of Diana breakbarrel rifles with droop problems when scopes are mounted, I have to find a solution. When the solution turns into a useful product that people can buy and be thankful to have, I feel better — not because I did it, but because it was done.
So, why call myself The Godfather of Airguns?
Here’s the deal. The place where I work — airguns — is a very small pond. I believe I’ve already established the metaphor. If I’m being called The Godfather of Airguns, I can just let it continue without intervention, or I can do something about it. I decided to do something about it.
I decided to trademark that title for myself — based on two seasons of use on television and now based on how I sign my blog. We’ve started proceedings to register the title officially with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That’s why there’s a trademark symbol (™) next to the title. When the registration is granted, that will change to a registration mark (®).
This doesn’t mean that I have my nose in the air or that I’ve forgotten my roots as an airgunner. It just means that as long as people are going to call me by this title, I’ve decided to managed it myself — a sort of ongoing pond-cleaning program, if you will.
I don’t need a gaggle of groupies. Leave that for others — please. This is just something I have decided to do before it gets out of control. Because our attorney asked us to start using The Godfather of Airguns in other places, there’s a Google+ page and a Facebook page for this title, although it appears the Google+ page isn’t live at this moment.