There was a rather striking fact mentioned by the woman who represented FenCon's charity for this year. It is Reading & Radio Resource: an organization that records audiobooks for the blind and for kids with learning disabilities. Many kids drop out of high school because of learning disabilities that make them unable to follow written text, and not because they are dumb. They never learn how to read, and end up at a much higher risk than average population to be unemployed and to turn to crime. Here is what she said: future prison capacity is planned based on the number of third-graders who can't read.
That was the somber part of the opening ceremonies. The rest was, of course, humorous. The two toastmasters, who shall be referred to as BD and DLA, paid homage to (read: shamelessly riffed about) a certain well-known writer who could not come to Fencon, as he's still recovering from heart surgery. To avoid search engines' prying eyes, the missing writer shall be referred to as So-And-So. :-)
BD was talking about So-And-So's works. Then he asked DLA: what's your favorite So-And-So's story? DLA answered: my favorite So-And-So's story is how cheap he is. With that response he set the theme for the opening ceremonies. BD and DLA traded a few embarrassing stories about the So-And-So. When So-And-So had heart surgery, it was discovered that he had a silent "coronary event" in the past -- a heart attack with no symptoms. When So-And-So was telling BD this, he added: "it probably happened during vigorous sex." BD responded: "yes, and since you were alone, nobody noticed". BD added: this was one of maybe two times in my life I made So-And-So laugh. He laughed so hard he probably busted a stitch! DLA responded: "and that was before his surgery. That's how cheap he is!"
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