Thursday, February 5, 2009
My unlucky t-shirt
Who remembers Battlebots? I mean, besides me and hypothetical question asker.
I was a big fan of Battlebots. I actually went to watch the contests live, both in San Francisco and in Las Vegas. Besides watching the bouts, the fans were allowed to wander around "backstage", similar to the pit at a stock car race, and watch the inventors of these mechanical menaces as they worked on their babies between skirmishes. Many enterprising robot teams made t-shirts and sold them, usually for $15, and I picked up more than a few, and still have several.
With limited financial resources, how does a fan boy decide to buy a fighting robot t-shirt? He might decide to buy one because of a particular loyalty to a truly awesome robot, or it might be because the design of the t-shirt is so cool. It was the second reason I bought the shirt from the team that made the robot known as Death By Monkeys.
I mean, seriously. Show me a nerd who wouldn't wear that, and I have to question if you have shown me a nerd at all.
So my Death By Monkeys t-shirt gets into my regular t-shirt rotation, and all goes pretty well until one day waiting for BART at Bay Fair station. A guy comes up to me and starts a conversation.
"Death by Monkeys, huh? You like Battlebots, don't you? Do you like the wedges? Death by Monkeys is a wedge. I like the spinners better. I have a design. I could show it to you. Do you have a pencil?"
This guy was a fan. This guy was waaaaay more of a fan than I was. Most of this conversation was spent with me backing up. The train came and he didn't sit next to me, and that was a blessing.
Well, these sort of things happen.
So, it's a few weeks later and I'm wearing the Death By Monkeys t-shirt in public once more, having breakfast with my dad in Castro Valley, sitting in a booth at a coffee shop. We go up to the counter to pay the bill, and a guy who is sitting alone at the counter, hunched over a cup of coffee takes a sideways glance at me.
"Death By Monkeys, huh? I had a monkey... in 'Nam."
I then was treated to the story of the short life and untimely death of this fellow's monkey, who ran afoul of another shipmate on a swift boat that patrolled the Mekong River. I listened, nodding at appropriate moments, waiting for my dad to pay the bill so the time to leave could come, and during this fellow's riveting tale of simian tragedy, I had an epiphany.
I shouldn't wear the Death By Monkeys t-shirt out in public anymore.