Set The Wayback Machine to 2002 Sherman

When I tell you that I am a Geek, you'd better believe it.

A Nerd. Dweeb. Dork. Whatever.

The fact is, I am a Geek with a capital G mostly because of Star Wars. I admit it.

Ray Park and meI swiftly graduated the Nerd Scale from simple fan to Convention Speaker in a few short years, working with the likes of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Ray Park (Darth Maul), Dave Prowse (Darth Vader), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Warwick Davis (Wicket), Lucasfilm staff and more. I was even invited to visit "Mecca" to all Star Wars fans - Skywalker Ranch in California. The opportunities that opened up were like an exquisite dream to a science fiction Geek like me.

But the Dark Side of fandom reared its ugly head while I was working The Star Wars Celebration II convention in 2002.

Upon arrival in Indianapolis, I shared a limo with Phil Brown (Uncle Owen), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and their wives. Peter really is very tall, and has trouble walking on those long, bowed legs. We chatted on our way to the hotel, and it was nice to meet his wife who was very personable. When he climbed out of the limosine, Peter dropped his sunglasses. I retrieved them for him without so much as a "thankyou" from the big Wookiee.

Ah well, no biggie, I thought.

Like most people working the convention, I was extremely busy so I had to squeeze in opportunities to get autographs whenever I had a free moment. Carrie was extremely pleasant; we discussed our daughters who are very close in age. She signed a photo I had already had Mark Hamill sign. Since we had already met, I thought getting Peter to sign it too would be easy...

Um. Right.

Because I was staff, I didn't have to wait in the huge lines in the Autograph Hall. Peter's wife was helping him at his booth and she remembered me from the limo so we started chatting. I asked him if they were keeping him busy. Without looking up, he growled "Yes. And I am taking a break!" So I politely asked if I could just leave a photo for him to sign.

To my horror, he got up, leaned forward, lowered his 7 foot frame to my 5 foot 4 level, stared me straight in the eye and yelled "Are you deaf? I said I was TAKING A BREAK!"

Autographs"Uh... Um...." I was dumbfounded.

And oh so eloquent. NOT.

"Well? ARE you deaf?" He continued so loud EVERYONE could hear. Even if yes, I were deaf, I would have gotten the message. Loud and clear.

But shock kept me from forming actual words. All I could do was shake uncontrollably as tears welled up in my eyes.

"Errrr.... Ahhh...." Was all my brain could process.

Bravo. Way to stand up for yourself, Maureen.

My ability for a brilliant comeback, or heck, ANY comeback, as usual, failed me.

His wife was mortified... she took my photo and coupons (I paid, just like any other convention goer even though I didn't have to) and told me she would get him to sign it; could I come by to pick it up later?

Stunned, I just nodded and walked away...

Then I considered going back and telling him I didn't even WANT his stupid autograph anymore. But I left it, too scared to return and finally picked it up later that evening after he had left.

How brave am I?

Fortunately, he was the only celebrity that I've had a bad experience with. One of the sweetest people I've met was another Peter; Peter Diamond was a stunt coordinator for all the films, a Tusken Raider and also the Stormtrooper who falls into the chasm during the famous "swing" scene (he taught Mark how to do that trick). He saw what happened, took me aside, hugged me and told me in his crisp English accent that Mayhew was "just a hospital orderly whose height had gotten him the only acting part he ever had. He wasn't a true actor, and didn't appreciate how precious the fans were."

THAT Peter was a Gift. In his seventies, he was like having my own father there. When we parted at the airport after the convention, he kissed me goodbye on the cheek.

I was so sad when I heard he passed on a little while later.

So anyway, that was the day that will forever be remembered as:

" The Day I Got Chewed Out By Chewbacca "

Meanie Mayhew

27 People would rather be commenting:

Anonymous said...

WOW! You ARE a hardcore fan!! You rock. I was at Celebration IV this year at the LA Convention center. Sadly, my son was on vacation with my wife in the Philippines at the time so he couldn't enjoy it with me. I emailed him pics and he went bizonkers just from those. Chewbacca was a jerk! Oh man. It would have been funny when you said "eh er" if you had said it Chewbacca style "eeehhhhrrr eeerrrrr" That would have been your comeback of the century.

Christine said...

Such a shame...chewie always seems so nice, on film.

Jill said...

It's so sad the way people treat each other sometimes. :-( :-( :-( Maureen I don't think you have to feel bad about not standing up for yourself AT ALL, not even one sentence worth! Of course you weren't expecting that and even if you had been, he *already* made you feel bad - you don't have to put yourself down TOO for something that was all his fault in the first place. Glad it seems like you had an otherwise good time & glad you ended up getting your picture back. For his part, he should maybe think about whether or not it's worth it to do those conventions - seems like he must really hate doing them to have lashed out at you like that. :-( :-( :-(

Heather said...

WOW. I'm appalled that he treated you that way...and in front of his fans, no less. Some people just don't care how they come across to others. I'm sorry he did that. VERY cool that you got to work with the others though.

Irene said...

You certainly didn't deserve that, nor does anyone deserve to be treated that way. Sometimes there are people in the world that we could easily do without and apparently you met one of them. Don't worry about not having made a come back, he looked like a fool and you didn't.

toners said...

Wow...there was no need for that kind of response for him, and I bet he also got chewed out by his wife for it (pun intended! LOL!)...

Megan said...

Wow. What a disappointment. I hope his wife gave him an ear full for talking to you like that.

Aimeslee Winans said...

OMG, I hate that you were treated that way, but I'm not a Star Wars or Trekkie nut, so the whole thing is making me laugh, sorry about that.

Bruce Johnson said...

I never really liked Chewbacca all that much, he always seemed like a mean dog with an attitude.

I wonder how much that autographed pictures would bring on ebay.......

MarĂ­a said...

Are there people in existence who DON'T like Star Wars?

Pissed about Chewbecca being an ass. I would have never thought...

Anonymous said...

Okay..I'm going to be honest. I've never seen a single Star Wars movie. *runs to hide* Also, it stinks that you had a such a nasty encounter with him.

Phoenix5 said...

Wow, and I thought I was a Star Wars fan! I have never been to any of the conventions, mostly because I am usually too broke to be able to afford it! LOL! I actually wore out my first VHS copies of the movies, and, in proper fan tradition, passed on the love of the movies to my own kids! LOL! My two daughters wore out the SECOND VHS set I bought! Now I have all 6 movies on DVD (Special Editions, all) which I HOPE will last a bit longer.

Boo! Hiss! to the first Peter, and Hooray! to the second! Some people are just not meant to be in the public eye, that's for sure, while others are most worthy of it.

Heather said...

Okay first, you tell a great story. And second, I would have cried too. What a big (literally) jerk. But it's still a good story!

Cupcake Blonde said...

Excuse my language but he was a complete asshole. I mean you didn't ask him to do it right then, you asked if you could leave it for when he returned from his break. If I was his wife I would have chewed him a new one. I hope he doesn't treat her badly. Sounds like the abusive type to me. And I don't blame you for being unable to retort. First of all that reaction was completely unexpected and second, he is HUGE. He can be intimidated not yelling at you.

Bad Chewy, bad bad.

Maureen said...

Buzzeedad: I thought you might like that post… I worked Celebrations 1 to 3; which were more than enough. I could have worked IV too, but it was a case of “been there, done that.” Oh, why weren’t you by my side giving me that great comeback when I needed you? That WOULD have been the comeback of the century!

Christine: Yeah, you really have to separate fact from fiction when you meet celebrities.

Jill: Absolutely. You are right; he shouldn’t do signings if they stress him out like that. It makes everyone look bad. But what else is the guy going to do? That was is only part and it’s been his cash cow since.

Heather: Thanks. Yes, the others more than make up for the one jerk.

Sweet Irene: You are completely right! Thank you.

Toners: I hope his wife reminded him that I was a co-worker, not someone who just decided to cut the line and barge in… but ever since I have stayed well away from him.

Megan: It was disappointing. I hope she did, but I’ll never know.

Aimeslee: Yeah, if he wasn’t so hurtful, it would have been funny. I should have laughed in his face!

Lotus07: Har! I have nearly 150 Star Wars autos… I am sure some would be pretty valuable nowadays (even Alec Guinness).

Immoral Matriarch: Oh, yeah there are… they’re called “Trekkies”. Just kidding; actually I like most science fiction, Star Trek included. I just obsessed over Star Wars.

Oh Amanda: there are more than just you who’ve never seen the movies… you either like science fiction or you don’t. It doesn’t matter. To each their own. ;) thanks.

Phoenix5: Yeah, you should see my basement; I do believe it is one of the largest SW collections in Canada. Been on TV and radio and in newspapers. I have every rendition of those dang movies many times over. And you hit the nail on the head with your last paragraph.

Heather: Thank you!

Maureen said...

VP: Love the "Bad Chewie. Bad. Bad."

Maybe I should have smacked him on the nose with a rolled up newspaper!

;) Thanks so much.

Canadian flake said...

holy cowwwwwwww I didn't know you had actually met these stars...too bad Chewbacca was such an idiot...guess he had one too many "hairballs"

Curly Glamour Girlie said...

You mean a guy whose film credit is being in a huge costume that you can't see him in is shunning his fans? Yeah, smooth move there Chewie.

But kudos to the real actor for making you feel better.

Ed & Jeanne said...

Great story. You should have yelled "Help...he groped me!!!" No, just kidding. You should have said, "Oh, no didn't have any REAL lines in the films anyway..."

Maureen said...

Canadian Flake: Har! Maybe!

CGG: Yeah, I know, eh? It's not like he even has a real job anymore... you'd think he'd treat anyone who knows who he is with a little more appreciation.

VE: Now, this is why I NEED someone like you with me on the spot for these great comebacks.... hilarious!!!

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Yikes, what a jerk! Maybe he had fleas.

Momo Fali said...

Aw! That stinks! He's got a lightsaber stuck up his patootie.

Janet said...

That's terrible! Between this and your fishnet tight story, you've had some memorable celebrity encounters! Still can't shake that fishnet image ... :-)

the frogster said...

It would be fun to see your collection of Star Wars stuff. If you were ever looking for the new Mr. Maureen, you probably have a guy/girl ratio of like 50 to one at those conventions, huh?

Boy, that stinks. I am afraid to meet my heroes or idols or whatever for that very reason- I wouldn't know what to do if they turned out to be poopieheads. Would I burn their books or CD's? The thing is that all of the other actors at those things already know he's a schlep and probably don't like him anyhow.

It's nice that Peter II helped you out of your pit of despair. I bet you never thought a stormtrooper would be rescuing you from Chewbacca!

Anonymous said...

Great story! And seriously, what an A$$! I'm always amazed at how obnoxious people can be.

Anonymous said...

I love Star Wars, but wow, what a jerk! So sorry you had to experience that arrogance.

Glad the others were nice, though.

Shannon said...

Damn, that is so disappointing. And that guy is huge. I'd have been shaking in my boots, too. I bet you thought of like a billion snappy comebacks over the next few days.

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