A Fully Functioning Furry Fiefdom: Anthrocon, Part 3

For the love of god, writing the after-action report for this convention is about as exhausting as attending the convention itself was.  But over the past three days, I’ve managed it.

I mean, it makes sense considering this thing was goddamn huge, but a man needs to take a break every now and again. However, much like a furry catching a red-eye flight to make it in time for the dance competition, I must soldier on with little rest and serious questions about the direction my life has taken. So, let’s soldier through to Sunday, and get a little bit of an after-action analysis done so I can stop seeing dancing deer in my mind’s eye and instead go back to legal stuff until the next time I have to address the furry overlords that now control my life.

Sunday

Sunday was, unfortunately, the last day of the convention for me, based on the fact that I was expected back in the office on Monday morning to meet with potential new clients and make sure some filing deadlines were going to be met. Thus it was with great regret, and a massive fucking hangover, that I climbed out of bed on Sunday morning well after the Captain had awakened and hit the gym. There were brief snippets of the night before playing in my head, chief among them the fact that I, at some point, had been in a room full of Germans who handed me a drink. I don’t recall too much after that point.

For the first time that weekend, the Captain and I hit the breakfast buffet in our hotel and spent an hour or so talking about the law and various lawyerly things in our respective jurisdictions. Nothing furry went down at that table. It was quite possibly the dullest part of our visit, but to the lawyers out there who have soldiered through two days of furry madness with me, we were talking mainly about the chance of punitives and statutory damages in relation to pre-foreclosure self-help ejectments by bank agents. It was exciting stuff.

Both of us also broke our cardinal rule of the weekend, and answered client phone calls coming into the cell phones throughout the day. The weekend was drawing to a close, and that meant all hell would break loose if we didn’t at least check emails and phone messages to be prepared for the next morning.  The Captain took a moment to book his flight out, and I called for and loaded my car, and then we were off to the convention center for the last day we’d be present at Anthrocon.

Sunday was…much more reserved? There was a big crowd present, but whereas Saturday had been a balls-to-the-wall party of hugs and happiness, Sunday was much calmer. We wandered the Dealer’s Den again, the Captain checking on his art auction bid (he won) and buying us “friendship bracelets” from a dealer. I became somewhat convinced the Captain was really a 12 year old girl trapped in the body of a young attorney from the look of disappointment on his face once we realized the bracelet he had purchased for me didn’t fit.  Fiend appeared, and for a moment staff marvelled slightly at the fact I was clad in blue jeans, a t-shirt, and my houndstooth blazer instead of my more professional casual dress.

As Ashe would put it, “You look like a convention attendee today. Or a porn director. Let me get a picture.”

After a bit of walking around the Dealer’s Den, we were summoned to the Programming Office where I had a conversation with Giza, a member of the Board of Directors who I’d been trying to grab a drink with for the several weeks leading up to Anthrocon, but which kept being prevented by our respective schedules.  We had a very good conversation, he was a very friendly and interesting guy.  Then they informed me that I was going to be a part of the charity show.

No options were given. A tweet was sent to that effect. I had been drafted.

The day was winding down a bit, with a quick lunch from a hot dog stand with the crew of guys I’d been talking to over Twitter, and some goodbyes. The Captain headed for the airport, and I headed to the stage. The charity show was fun, they tried to saddle me with the responsibility of becoming a faux-con chair (BasementCon ’18, motherfuckers) and afterwards I had a good, out of public persona, conversation with a large “noodle dragon,” the Cockroach Chemist, and the resident Booze Fairy. Once again, I was somewhat amazed at the people who came up to shake my hand and say hi.

Closing ceremonies came and went, and despite invitations to blow off responsibility and stay another night to get drunk, duty called. So, blaring my swing music, I loaded up the last of my gear from the Programming office and hit the road to go home.

It was somewhere around Harrisburg that I realized I had been sucked in. I was enjoying this shit now.  And I’d have to go back soon enough into the fantasy land of fur and booze.

So, What’s the Deal?

Anthrocon 2017 raised $37,598.00 for charity. It hosted over 7,500 people. That alone was awesome, and should say a lot for this community.

But what did I take away from it?

Over the course of the weekend I had people stop me and thank me for being a professional willing to interact with the furry fandom, and I wanted to scream “But you already have them!” You have a respected chemist, a stockbroker, people who literally run the fucking internet for major corporations, psychologists, police officers, teachers, and, yes, even fucking lawyers. All of these people are furries already. They’ve been there all along, but some of them were the ones who were thanking me because they didn’t think they could be professionals and be furries.

That’s sad to me, because if Anthrocon has showed me anything, it’s that the furry fandom isn’t a collection of geeks and freaks. It’s a collection of people, mostly good people, who have come together over a mutual love to build…well, shit, something special. They escape into their characters and fursonas, they dress up like animals, they draw pictures, and holy shit can they dance, but at the very core of it…they’re people. The hobby is different than what folks expect, but it isn’t bad. Sure…some of the people involved with the hobby are bad, but that’s true of people fucking everywhere.

A lot of serial killers went to law school. That doesn’t make all lawyers serial killers but stay the fuck out of my basement.

Even the bad…isn’t bad. I won’t go into details, but I will say that I had the option to watch higher-ups and security mete out justice over the weekend in their own manner.  I will say the way they did it was effective, and fair-handed, to those people. I will also say the way it’s done isn’t perfect, but I, and you, have to appreciate the line a convention that is trying to bring something to your community has to walk. Too harsh and they exclude people with no chance of redemption, too soft and thumbprints start showing up on shit. There’s no perfect solution to every problem, but from what I saw, and what I heard of, the solutions used were fair ones designed to build and support a community while stopping problems before they arise.

As a client who is an event planner once said: “The fact you’re aware of a small problem means we stopped the big ones from happening.”

Finally, though, and importantly, the one biggest take away from Anthrocon was heart. Heart from the staff who appear year after year to create a magical fucking wonderland in the heart of Pittsburgh.  Heart from the city that has welcomed furries with open arms over the years.  Heart from the sub shop owner who took a brick to the head, and was repaid a thousand times over.  Heart from the Booze Fairy who ran off-stage to make sure a kid was okay.  Heart from the attendees and the staff.

Furries have a lot of fucking heart.  It’s infectious. The Captain is already trying to get me to make time to go to MFF and do my schtick there, and has committed himself to hitting up Tiny Paws with me.

So…are you?

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

C’mon…are you?

I think we should just end it right here, don’t you?

You told us to check back after Anthrocon. It’s after Anthrocon.

Anthrocon never ends. Like Christmas, it lives year round in your heart if you only believe.

That’s a cop out.

Yep.

Seriously though…are you?

You know what? I’ll be at Furrydelphia in August doing the whole Evening with Boozy panel again.  Why don’t you show up there and ask me then?

We hate you.

Awwww…C’mere. Let me give you some Telegram stickers to make it better.

-BB