Or: How I Was Choked For Making a Joke at Everfree Northwest
We were there as fans of MLP:FiM who are not actively involved in the online fandom, and representing the con that we help run. Everfree NW had set up a table at our show, so we were setting up at theirs. We had a great time, tabling and DID meet a lot of really nice people. We also met some people who were not so nice.
I was sitting at our table in the main hallway of Everfree NW, just outside of the doors for the livestream room, eating dinner with my girlfriend. I got up to use the bathroom, and saw some people peeking into the panel room to see what was going on. They were wearing pony shirts and buttons and were all decked out, while I was just wearing my Vendor badge, with a Nightmare Moon pin on the lanyard. Maybe I wasn’t obvious enough of a pony fan, I don’t know, but I leaned in, smiled big and said quite sarcastically, “Oh, you don’t want to go in there. Those guys’re strange. They like a kid’s show about talking horses.” You know, to break the ice, and have some friendly fun poking fun at ourselves for being at a pony con. I’ve done this before, and it has never upset ANYONE in my last 10 years of going to comic book, pop culture, sci-fi, and anime conventions. The woman smiled back at me and said, “Ooohh yes, very strange!”
We chuckled a little bit, and she walked away. I was about to turn to continue on my way to the bathroom, when some other man came up on my right side, grabbed my trapezius muscle, and pressed his thumb to my jugular, and applied light pressure. Basically, the Vulcan Nerve Pinch. I am blind in my right eye, so this already took me by surprise and set me on edge. I was lead to believe by his actions that this kid knew what he was doing because he found my jugular quite easily, and applied enough pressure to imply the threat of further violence.
For added context to what I am about to describe to you, I am a trained and state licensed security officer who is currently employed at the largest tourist attraction in Oregon.
I am not that big of a guy. I’m 5’8” and I have a lean, but muscular build. He was probably around 5’10” or 5’11”. Just tall enough to look down at me, which he did. He squared himself up and said: “Did I just hear you call a Brony strange?”
I maintained my relaxed body posture, and did not respond physically to his threat, in an intent to show that I was not scared of him, and he did not threaten me. “Yeah,” I said slowly and clearly with a tone that implied “so what if I did?”
He smirked and said, “I don’t think that’s funny.”
"Okay," I responded, again making it clear by my tone that I was not threatened by him.
"I don’t like that, I don’t think it’s funny at all." And as he said those, words, he slid his hand up my neck, wrapped his fingers around my throat, and squeezed. This is when I took physical action.
I grabbed his wrist tightly with my right hand, pulled it off of my throat and out away from my body to the left, to throw him off balance. I pushed him away with my left hand, and stepped back with my left leg as I let go, to blade my body away from him and make myself a smaller target. I pointed with my right hand and yelled: “NO! YOU DO NOT JOKE ABOUT THAT.”
Immediately, I turned and left for the bathroom. I was amped up on adrenaline and ready to destroy this guy, but I didn’t need to, nor did I want to. All I wanted to do then was to get out of the situation and end it before it started to get worse. I didn’t go to Everfree to get in a fight. I went to hang out with friends, make friends, talk about ponies, and promote my event.
After I got back from the most stressful and shaky piss I’ve ever taken, my girlfriend asked me what happened. I explained it to her, and she said that he had told a different story to his friends as he walked away. Concerned that this would reach con-ops and put a bad mark on the relationship between our two events, I decided I would tell them about what happened before they heard something that was not true. I had, and still do not have, any reason to lie about what happened. Usually, I would much rather let bygones be bygones than start shit, but this was a serious threat to my well-being, be it a misguided joke or not.
The staff were absolutely abhorred by what had happened, but didn’t know what to do. I was bounced around to many staff members until I was finally put in touch with the head of staff. I introduced myself and my organization to him, and explained what had happened. I gave as good of a description as I could to him, and went on with my evening.
About an hour later, the kid came back to the side of the con that we were in. I went to con ops, and pointed him out. They grabbed a security guy, and they confronted him. The security guy was very unprofessional, and seemed annoyed that he had to help at all. He was also horribly misinformed and presumably undertrained, as he insisted that inorder to remove the guy from the event, we would have to call the police. All you need to do is confiscate his badge, inform registration, and inform him that if he returns he risks facing charges of criminal trespass. But that is neither here nor there.
The two of them went to confront the kid, and I went back to my table to draw with my friends. A few minutes later, the head of staff returned and informed me that the guy who choked me would like to apologize. I told him I would accept and followed him into the room where the guy was.
The young man, put out his and for me to shake, introduced himself and said he was sorry. I did not immediately shake his hand, nor did I immediately accept his apology. I told him how his actions made me feel threatened, and were not appropriate for any situation, as a joke or otherwise. The staff security guy interrupted and said “Yeah, he knows. He’s been informed.” I looked at him and continued my conversation with the kid. The security guy talked over me again.
I turned to him and said: “Thank you, I appreciate your help and everything you’ve done for me tonight, but I am talking to him, not you, and I am accepting his apology, so I would appreciate it if you would let me speak.” He shut up and looked down, scoffing to himself.
At this time, I reiterated my point to the guy who choked me once more, and offered my hand for him to shake. I introduced myself, and accepted his apology, making sure that he understood the gravity of his actions and that criminal charges could have easily been pressed.
And that’s my story of the time a Brony choked me, a fellow fan of MLP:FiM, because he overheard a stupid joke.