by Michael D. Pederson
It might be time to change the name of this column. I had originally thought up the idea of giving myself a page to rant about little things that were irking me when I was in my late-twenties and publishing a local entertainment magazine. Now here I am in my mid-thirties and I don’t seem to be in much of a ranting kind of mood. This scares me a little. Am I no longer an “angry young man”? And if not, can I at least gracefully slide into the status of “crotchety old man”?
Now that I think about it though, I have much nicer toys now than I had then. It’s hard to be too angry when you have a really bitchin’ home entertainment system. We live next door to a major military installation, and I’m pretty sure that there have been a couple of times when I’ve had The Lord of the Rings cranked up so loud that the Marines have started mobilizing to prevent an Uruk-hai invasion of central Virginia. Not that an Uruk-hai invasion of central Virginia would be a bad thing. I can’t imagine it would make the traffic any worse. It might even improve things. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve been stuck behind a driver who could be out-smarted by your average orc.
Oooh! That’s it! I do have a rant in me.
If ninety percent of everything is crap—and I’m pretty sure that this applies to people too—then it follows that a rapidly increasing population should make it more difficult for one to sort out the worthwhile ten percent. I suppose that this is yet another advantage of Fandom. It’s been my experience that the average fan is more intelligent and creative than the average man-on-the-street (take a bow, you know I’m right). Of course, the average fan’s social skills are generally sub-par too (yes, sadly, you know I’m right again) but that’s not a problem because we’re such a forgiving lot as well.
In fact, I’m beginning to suspect that the mundanes—straights, norms, muggles, proles, plebes—might be a little jealous of fandom. That would explain the ongoing conspiracy to shut down conventions on the east coast. “Conspiracy?” you ask. Yes, it all seems innocent at first glance but when you start to put the pieces together you see a pattern…
Disclave ’97. A New York cop (not a registered member of the con) handcuffs the “M” half of his S&M couple to a sprinkler head. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happens when you bust the head off an emergency sprinkler. Or maybe it does. Result: no more Disclave.
JerseyDevilCon ’03. A girl’s high school basketball team is staying at the same hotel. After being told they can’t drink at the Nth Degree party they wander down to the lobby where they decide to lift the kilt of a man dressed as the Jersey Devil. Oddly, the man who had his personal space violated was the one taken to jail that night after the kids’ coach filed a complaint. No more JerseyDevilCon (that’s not the reason the con closed, but it didn’t help).
Philcon ’03. At 5:00 AM, the fire alarm goes off. We later discover that another group staying at the hotel (I think it was a wedding party, but don’t quote me on that) had accidentally started a trashcan fire. Fortunately Philcon is a well-established convention and can shrug off a little event like that. It was still irritating though.
We’re taught when we’re young that police officers, teachers, and married people are respectable and that we should be just like them. Thank goodness we aren’t.