(As usual, all the names have been changed to protect people’s privacy. LONG POST so press “J” to skip or start scrolling because I can’t make cuts work for Moblie, sorry.)
Back in 2004 I went to a cousin’s wedding and my mom got into Fandom.
Ruth, my Mom’s-college-roommate’s-daughter was getting married to a man of mixed reputability in what had been for several months had been the primary sitcom of the family- mushroom vs. champagne draperies, the bride wanted a small ceremony and the mother of the groom wanted to invite every business contact she had, and then there was the problem of the Rabbis- Ruth’s rabbi had mostly retired but had promised to marry her in her youth, David’s had promised the same and the current Rabbi of Ruth’s synagogue wanted in too, so they agreed to be married by all three Rabbis. Furthermore, any Jewish wedding requires a Chuppah- a canopy under which the ceremony takes place. Mom agreed to make one for Ruth and David’s wedding, (MUSHROOM-colored of course, not champagne) and escort it there personally as we were attending the ceremonies.
Alas, the wedding was in Columbus, a terrible place.
Southeast Ohio is generally a rather nice place- on the far northern end of the appalachia it has lovely rolling hills of deep hardwood forests, a spectacular zoo and many other things a scientifically inclined teenager might enjoy but I was not going to those, I was going to a Wedding, where I had been guilted into being a flower girl on account of being the youngest available cousin, along with my sister. I spent most of the drive from Colorado in a state of spectacular teenage misery, which was almost entirely obliterated when we got to the hotel.
The guests of the Hotel consisted thusly:
- My family (4)
- A small herd of fancy-suited businessmen there for some obscure finance meeting (30ish)
- A jolly and boisterous horde of Gamers, Cosplayers, Geeks and Freaks present for the World Of Warcraft convention immediately across the street (several hundred)
I didn’t actually know a damn thing about WoW, other than it was something my geekier friends in middle school played, and that it had elves with ridiculous eyebrows, but I know how to make friends with the kind of people who wear nothing but bodypaint and prosthetic ears in public and started talking to the gang of Blood Elves at the breakfast bar while the businessmen huddled together at their table like a group of musk oxen forming up against a pack of wolves.
Eventually mom wandered over and joined in the conversation- after years of making Halloween costumes, stage props, miscellaneous fabric constructions like the Chuppah and so forth, she’d gained an extensive knowledge of what fiber can be made to do, but wanted to know what marvelous things these people were doing with plastics. She hit it off particularly well with the Troll over his teeth, and they decided to confide in her.
“Hey, here’s a fun thing to do-” Said the blood elf, before trotting over to the edge of the mezzanine overlooking the lobby.
“LOK’TAR OGAR!” she bellowed as loudly as her tiny, corseted frame could manage.
“FOR THE HORDE!!!” Roared back several dozen Warcrafters, shaking their con-safe weaponry and causing several of the businessmen to duck for cover.
“Yeah, if you need anything, just yell that.” she nodded, before we parted ways.
Later that night, Mom slipped in the shower and sprained her ankle, which resulted in a moderately panicked but ultimately boring visit to a clinic to get it X-ray’d and acquire a wheelchair. The next morning, however, we had to proceed to the wedding, and discovered that the elevator was out of service.
A Chuppah, if you’re not familiar with one, is roughly the same dimensions and weight as those pop-up tents they use at gentrified outdoor craft fairs, or about 9 feet long and close to 60lbs when folded up. This one was closer to 100 once all the memorial images and sentimental fabrics and special tent poles had been added on. Mom was stuck in the wheelchair, Dad was in a state of near panic at Mom being injured and also having to be somewhere On Time, and my sister and I were liquefying in the summer heat and the bride-mandated mushroom-colored seven goddamn layers of itchy-ass tulle flower girl dresses, barely able to lift the chuppah between us.
In short stairs were not happening and three quarters of us were about to riot but Mom is definitely the smart person in the family because she remembered-
“FOR THE HORDE!!”
“I NEED SOME HELP!”
Instantly the cosplayers from the night before were there, along with a dozen more. Two beefy trolls carried Mom down the stairs and clean out to the parking garage, someone else got the chuppah, and the Blood elf managed to get concierge to bring our car around to the curb with our destination already programmed into the (VERY PRIMITIVE) gps. I thought my dad was going to cry with relief.
“So [Gallus].” Mom asked me on the way to the wedding. “People who like videogames. Do they all have Magic Words?”
“Yeah most of them have some kind of phrase like ‘may the force be with you’ or ‘live long and prosper’. Why?”
She just nodded, storing that fact away for later.
The wedding turned out to be an event in and of itself- The mother of the bride fainted when they kissed, the rabbis nearly got into a fistfight, the mother of the groom fell off the chair and needed stitches, uncle Larry tore his pants on the dance floor then elected to remove them and keep dancing- and I managed to forget entirely about Mom’s question.
Last year, we were doing theater set-in at the same time the local theater and culture complex was hosting the small city convention. It was July, hotter than satan’s own asshole, and the stage pieces were too large for both of our 5’2-and-under asses to move.
I came back out from wresting a Magic tree into the complex to find mom squinting calculatingly at a group of Marvel cosplayers.
“What are their Magic Words?”
“The words you say when you want to summon them- ‘Use the Force’ or something?”
I blinked a few times, as my heat stroke-addled brain translated that. “…Avengers Assemble?”
“HEY AVENGERS!” Hollered Mom. “ASSEMBLE!!”
INSTANTLY, an Iron Man and three Captains America sprinted over.
“What can we do Ma’am?” asked one of the captains, sticking rigorously to character.
“We need help moving these set pieces in and you have muscles.” she explained, and without question everyone pitched in to move a magical forest, the front half of a castle and a dragon’s cave into the Children’s Theater backstage. The Iron Man politely answered questions about painting metallics on Cardboard for her and all three Captains America lines up and saluted her upon emptying the truck.
“You’re dangerous.” I teased her as they returned to Con.
“Tell me more Magic Words- I need that tall one in purple to help with the lights.” she said, gesturing to a Waluigi that was about to become familiar with the Children’s Theater Lighting System.
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-i didn’t know what to tell her beyond “that’s Waluigi”. Props to him tho he did not break character the entire time he was helping with the lights.
-Mom got into EVA foam for a wearable art project and a friend recommended looking up cosplay blogs for videos on how to work with it. She follows several cosplay vloggers and refers to Hollywood SFX legend and Mythbusters guy Adam Savage as “the cosplay guy”
“I’m going to send him an email.” She tells me, last time I was up there. “There’s a spider in the background of his videos and I want to know how he did the legs.”