David Belt Copyright 2013
Few creatures do as many varied and random acts as Geeks, specifically the geeks who attend science fiction conventions. You know the characters I’m talking about, and if you’re reading this article you’re probably one of them; I know I am.
Shore Leave in Towson, Maryland, this year had no shortage of members performing random Acts of Geekness.
Random Dress – Commonly known as cosplay, costuming, or masquerading. This year’s Shore Leave masquerade was a huge success. Geeks paraded in all manner of dress with hundreds of wonderful entrants, but more importantly, and certainly more geekified, on Sunday morning was the Bunny Masquerade.
Members were allowed to vote on their favorite bunny, and my entrant, Bunnidas, won the popular vote. Go Bunnidas! (Far left bunny in the picture above)
Random Purchase – Also called impulse shopping. We have all stood at the checkout lines in the supermarket and snatched something from the impulse isle, because we suddenly had the urge for a candy bar or breath mint. That level of impulse is magnified exponentially when some geeks enter the Dealer’s Room and see something they just have to buy. I had a young lady sprint through the dealer’s room on her way to get an autograph. She stopped at my booth, turned to her friend and said, “You go on without me. I’m going to be here a while.”
Random Thoughts – To the outsider many geek phrases appear to simply be random thoughts, but at a scifi convention you can walk around in shirt that reads “There is no place like 127.0.0.1,” and a large number of people will get the joke. You can say things like “After the Rock/Paper/Scissors/Lizard/Spock tournament, do you want to go to the Iron Chef: Hobbit Brunch or do you want to build a TARDIS?” And the person you are talking to most likely knows exactly what you mean.
Random Displacement – Not even celebrities are immune to Random Acts of Geekness. I witnessed Neil Grayston in the dealer’s room for several minutes before he looked at his wrist and said to his staff attendant, “I think I’m supposed to be somewhere right now, but I don’t know what time it is or where I am.” Don’t tell Neil I said that. He probably doesn’t want anyone to know he is a closet geek.
Random Kindness – Geeks are nothing if not good people. I did witness one geek help another following Brent Spinner’s Q&A. The lady remarked that she would like to get Brent’s autograph, but she didn’t have the money for it. The gentleman said, “Would you allow me to pay for you?” The item, the cost, even the celebrity no longer mattered at that point. One human being reached out to another, and the memory of that kindness will last long after the ink and the picture have faded beyond recognition.
One last random event happened on the way home from the convention last weekend, and that event is the reason I am a week late in posting my article. On I-95, just south of Baltimore, I witnessed the aftermath of a terrible accident. Emergency crews had not yet arrived, and I knew at least one person was in need of immediate medical attention, so I parked my car and put my years of emergency medical training to work that I have received from the U.S. Navy. I’ll skip the gory details, but after 45 minutes, when the first paramedics arrived, I told them we had 3 injured: one ambulatory and fully responsive with minor lacerations, one non-ambulatory but fully responsive with a compound fracture, and one non-ambulatory, non-responsive with internal bleeding and multiple fractures, low pulse rate and breath complicated by fluid buildup. Then, I got back into my car with someone else’s blood and bile on my hands and drove to the nearest gas station to wash up.
I have spent the last week thinking about that time. I have come to the conclusion that our lives are largely composed of random events, some good, some not, but all blend together to weave the fabric of our lives. Regardless of the level of control we attempt to fool ourselves into believing we have, we must take each day, each event, as it comes and find a way to carry on. It’s okay to pause and take a breather when life throws you a curve ball, but then you have to get back into the game and wait for the next random act of geekness to come your way.