A tragedy occured at Balticon this weekend. For the last five years, I’ve worn the same pair of horns to every convention I’ve attended. Sadly, they were starting to wear out, so I took some fabric and thread to Balticon with me to put together a new pair. The moment I finished the new horns, I took the old ones off and gave them a quick kiss. “You guys are retired,” I said to them. “Now take a break.” The moment I tucked them into my suitcase, the headband broke, and that was it. My old horns weren’t just retired, they were dead.
It seems silly, I know, to get teary-eyed over a pair of cheap Halloween costume horns. But I wore those horns for five years, and everyone who read the webcomic and then saw me in person at a con immediately knew who I was. I’d put those horns on the moment I arrived at a con and I wouldn’t take them off until I finally got back in my car to go home at the end of the weekend. Those horns became as much a part of my identity as the nose on my face, but unlike my nose which I also once broke, they won’t heal.
So I’m taking a moment to reflect upon the last five years and the success those horns have brought me. I have the new horns, of course, but there will never be another pair like that very first pair. Tonight I’ll tuck my battered old horns into the cedar chest where I keep the little knitted hats Princess and Pixie wore the day we brought them home from the hospital, and the ratty old night gown I was wearing the night the Hubster proposed to me. Rest in peace, old friends. We had an amazing five years together. You will be missed.