Sunday, August 7, 2011

Let's Get This Birthday Party Started

It's my birthday today and I felt that it was time to kick this Gen Con up a notch and get a little crazy. I had a somewhat filling family-style dinner with the boys at Buca di Beppo. Neglecting decades of tradition and deciding to wrestle with one of my odd phobias, I actually allowed the waitresses to sing Happy Birthday to me. That sort of thing had made me uncomfortable since I was 10, which caused me to halt all further childhood birthday bashes (which pleased my mother to no end).  I never know what to do with myself when a group sings to me like that. Do I sing along with everyone? Do I just sit there and smile? Who do I look at? I guess it's just some latent embarrassment from everyone looking at me without me actually doing anything to encourage it. Thankfully, the ordeal was over pretty quickly and we could move on with the night.

After playing a few games, I was eager for some unconventional convention fun. The boys and I headed off to the convention center to take some goofy pictures. It was late into the evening, so there was only a skeleton crew of Gen Con staff running around managing events. We ran into the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game room where I proceeded to have a bunch of pictures taking of myself pretending to lay spiked dragon eggs against a WOW backdrop. The room's game master approached us. It was obvious that he felt our shenanigans and our uproarious laughter were disrupting the games. He nervously approached us and timidly chatted us up, inquiring about whether or not we liked playing the World of Warcraft Trading Card game. It was clear that he wanted us to leave, but was too afraid to ask, so we headed further down the convention hall. Right before we left, I absconded with a hopper hat from some other RPG that was sharing the room. From that moment on, it would be my birthday crown.

The boys and I soon happened upon an open sideshow stage and did one of our improvised nerd dances for the small crowd that was assembling. The stage swayed a little too much with our raucous dancing, so we ended this particular segment abruptly by leading the crowd in a chant of "All the gamers say: Happy (Happy) Birthday (Birthday)". A few of the crowd even wanted to have their pictures taken with us.

After taking a number of zany pictures around the Dungeons and Dragons room, we burst into a free-play gaming room that had a foam-sword fighting ring set up. I picked up a bunch of random gear for some pictures and was quickly accosted by some dude dressed up as a frost giant. I would have to fight my way out, so I donned my Hulk Hands and attacked. It turned out to be a pitched battle. When the gentleman in the frost giant outfit removed his helmet, I informed him that it was my birthday. He immediately dropped his accent. "You're TommyMac? I've heard of you guys! I heard you were causing all sorts of laughter around here. I'm glad to be part of this!".

After a few more random pictures, we packed it in, headed back to the hotel and cracked a few beers. It was already creeping into the wee hours of the morning so we spent a little time playing an RPG, having a few drinks and talking about the craziness of the night.

Best Birthday Ever? Quite possibly. All the more excuse to try and outdo it next year.

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