I recently stumbled onto a post about Comic-Con, the ultimate nerd fest in San Diego. It is held each year for Comic Book collectors, fans, geeks, and all around strange people. If you’ve never been, think Star Trek convention, only nerdier and geekier.
I went one year, because a friend invited me to go with him. He was actually working as a volunteer and he said it would be a hoot.
My friend was assigned to the entry trouble desk, and I soon found out how much of a hoot Comic-Con can be. Very hooty indeed.
The Comic fans, or whatever they call themselves, are a mixture of genius and idiot, with a big dollop of anal throw in for fun, and they don’t like it when things go wrong, especially about their Comic-Con tickets. They literally wear their entrance badge as a badge of honor, the most current on top, and the preceding years hanging below like the pendulant teat of a one-armed wet nurse.
Each year a handful of the billions of ticket holders have some issue with their credit card, or whatever and they are directed to see my friend at the trouble desk to look them up manually and issue them their badge.
Here is a typical exchange. Think of all the nerds you know; Steve Urkel, Leonard Hofstadter, Milhouse Van Houten, and roll them into one. Don’t forget the long streamer of Comic-Con badges dangling to the floor, and you have the picture.
My Friend: Welcome to Comic-Con. How can I help you?
Nerd: The individual working at the entrance says I have a problem with my pass, which is impossible, because I expressly purchased my pass 8 months in advance to avoid exactly this scenario!
Friend: [checks master list] Okay, you’re all set, here’s your badge. Enjoy the convention.
Nerd: [badge in hand mind you] What was the problem? I expressly purchased my pass 8 months ago to avoid this scenario! What exactly was the problem?
Friend: [with totally straight face] Well… it seems our computer just doesn’t like you. But you’re all set now, enjoy the convention.
Nerd: That’s simply absurd! Computer don’t like or dislike people, they aren’t sentient beings yet. (oh yes, he did say ‘yet’)
Friend: Well, you’re all set now. Enjoy the convention.
Nerd: As that may be, I want to know what happened. I expressly purchased my pass 8 months in advance to avoid exactly this scenario! I don’t want this happening again next year!
Friend: I hope not either, but as long as our computer doesn’t like you… well… see you next year. You’re all set now. Enjoy the convention.
It went on like this, all day. Each one funnier and more bizarre than the last. At the end of the day, as we were leaving, my friend said to me, “This is a volunteer job, but I swear to God I would happily pay to do this once a year!”