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Files & Clippings

Jon Singer—Your Lunch Guest of Honor*

by Fred A. Levy Haskell

Vaughn Bode was born in a log cabin in upstate New York and educated himself by firelight and Syracuse University…. Oops, wrong bio. Uh, where was I, Jon? Oh … right … Jon…!

I don’t know the rationale of the committee in making Jon the Lunch Guest of Honor, as I wasn’t at the meeting (I was out having a sandwich at the time, don’tchaknow). But I do know a Legend about Jon that may be relevant. It seems that Jon was once invited to be the Fan Guest of Honor at a small midwestern convention. On his way to the convention, Jon stopped for lunch at a little restaurant which looked interesting from the outside. (It had a certain “je ne sais quoi”.) Once inside, Jon noticed the fascinating flatware, and, being Jon, needed to discuss with the restauranteur the nature of the flatware, its origin, and how it came to be used at this restaurant. Well, you might imagine! Just so. The owner had, indeed, spent long hours in selecting and procuring precisely the correct flatware for his restaurant, and he was amazed and delighted at Jon’s perspicacity. Never before had anyone noticed and thought to comment upon the flatware! Finestkind!

Well, as you might guess, the conversation did not dwell forever upon the flatware, but rather branched out to various divers and sundry miscellaneous other topics and well on into the evening as well. At closing time, the restauranteur insisted that Jon accompany him to his residence for further discussion. Jon would have declined this kind offer—since he had a vague feeling that he was supposed to be somewhere, or, rather, that he was supposed to be somewhere else—but as his new friend was asking his assistance and expert option regarding experiments with light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation utilizing a chlorophyll medium, well, Jon could hardly refuse a request such as that!

And so it transpired that Jon returned home on Monday morning, having spent his weekend more or less as he had intended when he had first set out on that previous Friday—in stimulating discourse with new friends in new settings. However, no more than a week went by before Jon realized that the where of it had been slightly off—that he had originally planned to spend that time doing such things not at the home of his new friend, the restauranteur, but, rather, at an stf convention! But nobody at the convention had really missed Jon, as the concom had filled in for him with, variously, a small but lifelike Jon Singer stand-up (drawn by Reed Waller and hand-coloured by Stu Shiffman), a Gestetner 320, a hippotapher (who had obviously spent too much of his life with Morrison and was therefore somewhat the worse for wear), a Van de Graaff generator, It’s Talking Barney, one of those fluorescent orange highway koans, a dog-eared copy of Frogs into Princes, and a half a flock of exotic birds. It wasn’t quite the same as having Jon, hisself, there, but it was, nevertheless, interesting. Oh! and well worth a dollar.

So, I don’t know, maybe that’s why the concom selected Jon as the Lunch Guest of Honor at Minicon this year. On the other hand, since I just made all this up, maybe not. What do you think?

*Written for Minicon 26, 1991; ©1991, 2003 Fred A Levy Haskell.