September 15th, 2006

Mark!

The Convention Awkward Moment Buster

Scott Kurtz has just unveiled a controversial new greeting method for conventions that he ostensibly claims is to keep him from getting sick.

"As of now, I will no longer be shaking hands at conventions. If you attended the 2006 Baltimore Comicon you were possibly among the last people ever to shake my hand. That opportunity, I’m afraid, has forever passed. That ship has sailed."

Look at that stilted language. It's obvious to me and any other reasonably intelligent people that he's letting his agoraphobia get the better of him. And as someone who's been reading PVP for several years now, I feel that his fans and I have a responsibility in this situation. A responsibility to use this situation for maximum hilarity.

I present to you the Convention Awkward Moment Buster maneuver.

Step 1: Approach your favourite non-hand-shaking webcomic artist with your shaking hand outstretched. It doesn't matter which hand. You won't be shaking with it.

Step 2: The artist will have his hands in a "natural" position by his sides. Stop for a moment. It is crucial to let the moment stand. Don't let it get stupid; you just need to garner the appearance that you take a second to think about this kind of thing.

Step 3: Have your "moment of realization" where you go, "oh, right! You don't shake hands with people any more, do you?" as you drop your hand. You'll get a confirmation from the artist (usually a low grunt.) You could sort of point accusingly as you ask, but that's an advanced technique.

Step 4: Your hands are now at your sides. Take another thinker's pause, as though you're considering what to do now. This time you'll want to leave it just a teensy bit awkward.

Step 5: Do one of those "eh" shrugs, the kind where you lift your shoulders slightly and turn your wrists up as though you were saying "eh, whatever." And then immediately lunge forward and wrap the artist in a bear hug. Dudes can punch the artist in the back as they do so (Dave Barry says this is how to hug manly-style so onlookers don't think you're in love or anything. You can see baseball players hug like this after they get key RBIs.) The immediacy of the hug is what Busts the Awkward Moment, which is what gives the maneuver its name.

Step 6: (optional) Get a friend to take a picture of the beleaguered artist's face as he notes that he's probably being invaded by thousands of microbes and begins to make mental plans to stay in the hotel for the entirety of next year's convention. Then post the picture on the Internet.

With any luck, we'll give the bastard so many diseases, they'll band together and create a super-virus that the scientists will have to name after Alan Ginsberg.

Also: as promised yesterday, here's some reference links.
Two plus two
How many tablespoons in 220 pints?
The speed of light in nautical miles per half hour
Rods per 838 furlongs