Better Than a Hair Shirt For Lent

is the Humiliating Old Photo:

I think this was taken at the “Catholic Trekker Conference” in 2001. As I recall, my  first talk was titled “They’re Just Jealous: Why Cool Kids, Football Players and Cheerleaders Will Never Match the +5 I Rolled in Charisma”.  It was followed by my second discourse, titled “Catholic Social Teaching and Just FutureWar: Why Kirk Will Always Kick Picard’s  Wussy French Derriere”.

  • Jonathan F. Sullivan

    I would totally sit in on that second talk. Although I remember some liturgy magazine years ago printed an article about how Picard displayed traits of the ideal pastoral leader.
    And come one. Everyone know charisma is a dump stat. Dexterity FTW!

  • Beccolina

    That photo is proof that all men should have some sort of facial hair.

  • Sean P. Dailey

    “Catholic Trekker Conference”

    Nerdism to the 10th power. 0_o

    • Elijah

      Not a woman in sight for miles!

  • ivan_the_mad

    This post wins the internet today. Things like this affirm your Dark Lordliness.
    A Minion

  • Marthe Lépine

    Come on, that photo is not that bad. I would suggest that you work on this “self loathing” problem of yours. Weight does not really matter, and it in no way distorts from your smile and general attitude. In fact it is hardly noticeable. Try to accept yourself as you are.

  • RFlaum

    That is not how rolling charisma works. “+5″ is a modifier to rolls, not a roll itself. In some systems, rolling a high charisma may give you a +5 bonus to charisma-related rolls, but no one talks about “rolling a +5″. That’s like “Gretzky has the ball”.

    There. Out-geek that.

    • Cinlef

      I’m unable to make a comeback as I failed my saving throw

      • Chris M

        I died during character creation.

        • Manny

          Actually, maybe Mark was rolling for attributes and got an insanely good roll, which gave his character the +5 bonus to Charisma. Without the character creation rules, we really can’t know!

          …as the kids say, RFlaum, “Challenge Accepted.”


          • Manny

            Hmm, having re-read your original post, RFlaum, I see you have anticipated this version of events.

            Still, it’s not too hard to imagine some one at my table cheering at having rolled well for a particular attribute – especially if the character creation rules were particularly severe (i.e. the Traveller reference) and the class was heavily Charisma-based (which would certainly make sense for Mark, given his profession as writer/speaker/bard!)

  • Bill

    I think a bit of self-depracation is a very good thing. It can be overdone in two ways. First the person can be very down on himself. Or he can be looking for attaboys. But mostly, as Mark is doing here, it’s just earnest and honest laughing. We all need to take the piss out of our ourselves.

  • Morticia

    The facial hair does you do the smaller glasses.

  • Maolsheachlann O Ceallaigh

    I agree with Marthe, you look perfectly pleasant, sir.

  • Dave G.

    So when that was taken, you were about as old as I am now. Oh, and non-fantasy/sci-fi person that I am, I thought one rolled 3 six sided dice for Charisma.

  • Elaine S.

    The reference to a “Catholic Trekker Convention” puts me in mind of something my best friend in college, an avid sci-fi reader, once told me. She said there were three types of Trek aficionados: Trekkies, Trekkers and Trekkists. (This was in the early ’80s, when the movie franchise was just starting but before Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, et al.) Trekkies, of course, are the groupie types who flock to conventions, wear pointy Vulcan ears, etc. Trekkers and Trekkists are the more serious fans, the ones who (way back when) collected Star Trek novels and carefully studied the “canonical” history of each character, but beyond that I no longer recall what the difference is.

    • Cantorboy

      Aren’t there some who go around once a year asking for goodies?
      I think they are called Trek or Treaters.

    • Mark S. (not for Shea)

      I read an article in the L.A. Times several years ago right after a big bust of child pornographers. Of the 20 arrested, more than a dozen were die-hard Trekkies. Since then, I’ve never had the least desire to go to a Trek convention.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        Actually, the truth is worse than I remembered. All but 1 of those arrested were die-hard Trekkies.

        • S. Murphy

          Even perverts need innocent hobbies… Like the song says, “When a felon’s not engaged in his employment…

          • Mark S. (not for Shea)

            Re: Trekkies. That’s not a hobby. That’s a fetish.

            I love Star Trek as much as the average bear. But Trekkies are creepy.

  • enness

    Egads, Mark! You ought to WARN people that this post contains full facial nudity.

  • Tim S

    hmmm..were you in the cast of the classic film “Office Space”? You remind me of a certain managerial character..

    • Mark Shea

      Whaaaaat’s happening Tim? If you could go ahead and come on in this Saturday that would be greaaaaaat.

  • Rakhi

    Tim S. has a point! I was thinking perhaps this was the inspiration for Dwight Schrute…? As for the battle of captains, we shall disagree – the accent clearly gives Jean Luc the win…