Convention Medical Alert
I am here today to talk about a very serious occurrence, one that has been plaguing the community for some years now. It is even more relevant to us all now with convention season upon us, and we must understand and prepare for it. We all know about it, we don’t even try to hide the fact that it is happening, but yet it continues to happen with striking regularity. It is the dirty little “secret” of the convention going populace that also just happens to be as subtle as a brick to the head and as hidden as the elephant in the room, and “Big Convention” doesn’t want you to know about it, just like the aliens.
I am of course talking about the convention giggles. Leading experts on the matter (me) predict that in the coming years Conventionus Hilaritum Giggleitus (or CHG,) which is the name I just made up for it as the leading expert on the subject, will take place at 100% of gaming and genre conventions. Even more disturbing is that in a pseudo-scientific informal survey that was conducted by me of the five or six guys I go to every convention with, almost 100% of them have experienced the effects of this phenomenon. Also Chris was totally lying when he said he didn’t know what I was going on about, so take that for what you will.
But what are the convention giggles, and how do they happen?
The symptoms of this highly contagious condition are unmistakable, but they are shared with another common affliction of some convention goers, extreme obnoxious stupidity. It should be noted that both conditions can exist in a subject at the same time and are not mutually exclusive. If your suspected case of convention giggles starts more than 48 hours before the event in question or 24 hours afterwards, it is more than likely that you may just be a moron and should seek an immediate IQ test, because people probably really do not like you and you are too dumb to see it.
Early onset symptoms include drowsiness, and inability to fall asleep even though you have to be up in three hours to get in the queue room, and repetition of words and phrases that sound funny at the time but when looked at in retrospect make no sense at all.
Once the condition has set in a person can expect to come down with uncontrollable bouts of laughing and possible sense of euphoria and shortness of breath. A commonly observed symptom at this stage also includes making banal references to things commonly shared by the group in lieu of an actual joke, repetition of themes, and talking about that thing that happened only a few hours ago.
Late stage symptoms can also include physical exhaustion, sore throat, pain in the sides, and explosive diarrhea.
While these symptoms are all fleeting, they are extremely contagious and have a high occurrence rate. It is highly recommended to lock your hotel room door to prevent the spread. Cases have been recorded outside of the convention environment in the past, but almost exclusively among people with prior exposure.
It is currently unknown what causes the disorder. Bacterial and viral causes have yet to be ruled out, and if you were going to find a bacteria or virus that caused something like this, it certainly would be at the perti dish that is a gaming convention. I mean for shits sake Craig did you even wipe yourself after? You stink!
It is currently unknown what the long term effects are, if any. It is recommended to people suffering the ailment to avoid contact with the real world for at least 24 hours after the last symptoms have cleared up. Just stay indoors and recover, read the 2.0 rule book for that game you bought or maybe play one of the games you looked at all convention instead of wallowing in self pity or something.
It is also highly recommended that you avoid any high stress social gathering for the same time period, which includes weddings and funerals. It may not seem funny for a Rabbi to cough at a funeral, but let me tell you if you were there when Rabbi Schmuley did at grandpas wake and you could not tell if it was part of the Hebrew prayer or not… well it is better not to have to deal with what comes after that.
Dealing with infection
The most important thing to remember is that it will pass. The disorder is mostly harmless so enjoy it when you get it, you may even get a sense of longing to experience it again once it has passed, but don’t worry because conventions are annual.
I want to take the time here to tell you about the first time I experienced CHG, now that I can finally talk about it after all these years. It was June 20th, 2003 and it happened in a hotel room in New Jersey. I only remember this because I specifically remember that the night we got to the con we turned on the TV and the show that came on was the Late Late Show with Craig Killborn with musical guest Skye Sweetnam, playing the preteen angst anthem Billy S. I looked up the date, the internet is amazing. Also, if you have not seen this video, just watch it and be amazed at how overly sexualized they make this at-the-time 15 year old as she sings a song about how she wants to be willingly ignorant. They are literally ripping up books at the end of it like some strange Canadian/German Anarcho Punk statement or something.
My friends and I took a late afternoon trip from New York to southern Jersey to go to a small gaming convention, which is redundant really since small dirt cons are the only kind they have in Jersey. We had to stay the night so we would make it for the start of the card game tournament we were playing in the following morning. The game was the now defunct Warhammer 40k CCG by the likewise defunct Sabertooth Games, and to understand what happened you have to understand a little about the Warhammer 40k universe.
This is a biovore:
In Warhammer 40k (or 40k for short) the biovore is a creature from a race of aliens called the Tyranid. If you ever played Starcraft, know that the Zerg were almost entirely ripped off from the Tyranids. The ‘nids gimmick is that they are a hive mind race composed of genetic living weapons. Biovore here is basically a living mortar launcher, but instead of mortar shells they shoot out spore mines, those little floating guys next to him, which explode and release toxic gas.
So we are tired, it has been a long day, and we have a big tourney in the morning. We are finally in the hotel room unraveling, trying to get our backpacks ready for the convention ahead of us in the morning. Young Miss Sweetnam is playing on the TV in the background, and my longtime friend Ed is complaining about his feet hurting. Shortly after he mentions that a balled up sock whizzes over my head. So that not funny, he threw a sock right? Ed then stands up straight, looks me deadpan in the eyes from across the room, and just screams “BIOVORE!”
Within moments I cannot stand up anymore and fall half onto the bed, I am laughing so hard that I don’t think I am going to maintain my bladder control. Because Ed threw a sock. He is on the other side of the room, also uncontrollably laughing at what may have been the dumbest, non-joke ever. I have tears in my eyes from laughing, I am exhausted, and I am literally in pain from all of it. Shortly there after the other shoe did literally drop and another sock went flying overhead an into the wall behind me. Ed tried to make a joke but only gibberish and laughter came out. You know when you’re laughing so hard that you try to speak and words won’t form correctly? That was the scene. It was one in the morning and we were both at the point where we needed to go to bed, but couldn’t because we kept trying to say something, but then failing to do so and then laughing even harder at the fact that we were both incoherent. I think may have honestly past out at that point from laughing.
It was not till much later in life when I started to experience these symptoms almost every single time I went to a convention that I started to piece it all together. This wasn’t some friends having fun at a convention and enjoying each others company. That would be far to coincidental. No this was a contagion, an laughing virus that must have incubated in someone at the con and spread to us in our weakened conditions.
As a long time recurrent host of CHG, I have gone on to live a full and mostly satisfying life, and I assure you that you can to. It is a manageable thing, so just remember next time you are at a con to drink plenty of water, try to get some sleep, and for goodness sake do not throw any socks.