My husband is a cartoonist and humor writer, and because of this I have had the opportunity to meet and socialize with people I might not otherwise. In November 2008, we went to a comic convention—this one included comics, movies, video games, toys, sci-fi, pop culture—everything that would make a little nerd’s heart sing. For those of you who do not frequent the comic book scene, I will have you know that actual celebrities tour with these types of conventions. Granted, more often than not it is a little person who wore a lot of makeup and played an alien musician in a cantina scene of Star Wars Episode I, so no one really knows who this person is—but it’s exciting because you have to buy an exclusive pass to see them up close!
There are also times at these shows when the set up is more relaxed and you get to walk past a table and notice Lou Ferrigno [*ahem, The Hulk, guys, stay with me] smiling and winking at you from the other side of the table. That was neat, by the way. So these celebrities tour with conventions and [for a hefty fee] will let you pose in pictures with them, get their autograph and sell you t-shirts, lunchboxes, lighters, buttons, navel lint and pretty much anything you’ll trade them for money. Like people in general, some of the celebrities are jerks and there are others who are completely humble and surprisingly down to earth.
A friend of ours actually knows Chewbacca—who, I am sad to reveal, is really a giant man in a Wookiee suit. Even though I have seen him at prior shows, I was formally introduced to Peter Mayhew [the giant man in the Wookiee suit] at this particular show. That evening, we all went to dinner together in a large group. He doesn’t wear the suit to conventions, just to clear that up.
Mr. Mayhew is over seven feet tall, so sitting next to him at dinner gave the illusion of a normal-sized adult standing next to me at the table. Chewy was witty, funny, and of course interesting with lots of tales to tell. I didn’t get to speak with him as much as I would have liked; we had a large table with about 12 of us total, so conversations were choppy and blended into each other. And there were cocktails, so…
My most notable exchange with Mr. Mayhew occurred following dinner. At the end of the evening when we were saying our goodbyes, I was telling him that it was a pleasure to meet him and reached out to shake his hand. His incredibly gianormous fingers wrapped all the way around the back of my hand—my hand was completely surrounded by his. This has never happened in my life, so it was fascinating to me. Mr. Mayhew is 38 years my senior, and all I could do was blush while nervously giggling when I commented on the size of his hands and he replied with, “Everything is in proportion, my dear.” Good for you, Mrs. Mayhew! And yikes.