On Sunday, I went to a gem and mineral show. How exactly does this relate to my enjoyment of Star Trek and why I should speak at your next convention? I'm so glad you asked…
Throughout my life, I've come to love conventions about tech, comics, toys, and gaming. After 4 minutes of standing around the dimly lit expo center, I realized that gem and mineral shows will never be on my "cons I enjoy" list.
This convention had everything a rock lover could possibly want: Minerals, jewelry, gemstones, and fossils. I've always been excited by fossils, particularly Trilobites, but never enough to pay for one. The natural world is fascinating, and I love museums... “Certainly,” I thought, “I'd enjoy a nice rock con.” Nope.
It was an odd combination of creepy and boring. Emphasis on the creepiness, but also on the boredom.
This is nothing against the people that attend. They just seemed weird from the outside. I saw a lot of excited people who were thrilled to come together as a community, and it is the perfect place for people who get giddy over rocks. I'm just not one of those people, so I could see their weirdness. I've been the weirdo plenty of times. Ever go to a Klingon convention at a bookstore? Been there.
So going to the gem con was not the best, but I've seen worse. In all my life, I've only been to one truly awful convention. It was one of the first I ever attended: a cheap little unofficial Star Trek con at a local hotel.
I was a kid at the time. The event was advertised heavily during afternoon cartoons (Come meet “Q” from Star Trek!). My parents dropped my middle brother and I off in the morning, only to come back around dinner time (as was standard practice for parents at the time). After my parents left, we discovered that the entire “convention” was a handful of tables lining the walls of a half banquet hall. The room had no readmittance, the prices were excessive, the vendors there unsociable, and the guest of honor, C-list actor John de Lancie (“Q” from Star Trek!), was a miserable shit.
For those who are unfamiliar, “Q” from Star Trek! is a fun character with godlike abilities who showed up as a guest in several episodes. The actor was neither fun nor godlike. At that young age, I had only seen one other celebrity in my entire life-- when Gordon from Sesame Street came to our local mall. Let me tell you, Mr. de Lancie was no Gordon from Sesame Street.
“Q” from Star Trek! showed up late, told one short forgettable story of how he got hired, and then refused to speak any further about Star Trek. “Q” from Star Trek! stood in front of a room filled with Star Trek memorabilia, in front of an audience of Star Trek fans who paid to see “Q” from Star Trek!, then adamantly refused to speak about “Q”, Star Trek, his time on the show, or his experiences there.
He filled the entire time with nonsense about his background appearances on unrelated shows. He was rude, condescending, dismissive to the audience, and generally very smarmy. As kids, my little brother and I would've walked out if we had anywhere to go.
That was the second person from TV that I had ever seen, and it truly changed my opinion of actors (and people in general) on the spot.
Now, as a frequent jerk myself, I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt. I know that Star Trek fans aren't always the coolest people in the room, that being an infrequent guest on that show does not make him an expert. Maybe he had a bad day, maybe the people running the convention mislead him in some way. But maybe, just maybe, John de Lancie is simply a jerk, and even takes the time to brag about it.
It's been decades, but seeing his smarmy “thanks for your money, but screw you anyway” face on shows still offends me. I can't watch Star Trek, Breaking Bad, or even play Assassins Creed without being reminded of that horrible day with that horrible person. Now, thanks to this newspost, it seems that minerals and gems will have the same effect. I hope you guys are happy.
I'm a grownup now. I know that some people are jerks, some are cool, some are the greatest readers of webcomics in the universe. I'm actually a little thankful for that experience, because it taught me a lot about the world in a few short hours. Hell, I've been trying to cultivate that level of arrogance ever since.
Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is: If you're running a convention, and want a guest speaker, let me know. Trust me, you could do worse.