Gopher Broke
by Pat Molloy

Hello, my name is Patrick Molloy, and I'd like to tell you about my addiction. I hope that by doing so I can help some young, naive fan from going down the same path I did.

I was just a young and impressionable fan, going to college full time and taking in an occasional weekend SF convention. I was on my fourth convention when someone who had seen me around at other area cons asked me if I wanted to do a little gophering... Why sure, I thought; a little gophering never hurt anyone... Besides, it might be fun!

Well, that was the beginning of my long, downward spiral. I soon began working at almost every con I went to. My name was passed around among the con chairs and other work pushers of Southern fandom as an easy mark. Soon it went beyond gophering; I just couldn't say no. I started working Registration, Con Suites, Video room, Art Shows -- you name it! I'd try anything that was offered me...

I never thought of myself as having a problem; I told myself I could quit anytime that I wanted to... But I liked it too much to quit. I didn't realize I was mainly going to cons just for the work...

It had become the central focus of my fannish life, but It didn't stop there. I soon was into the harder stuff -- I became a Department Head... Huckster Rooms, Operations, Security, Film Programs, Green Rooms -- there wasn't a department I didn't think I could run. I still couldn't say no! And so finally, my long, downward spiral ended when I hit bottom -- I became a Con Chairman...

In the course of just a few short years, that seemingly innocent experimentation with gophering had evolved into a work addiction that took me all the way to chairing conventions. But what about now? Well, I'm still an addict; the road to recovery is a long and hard one. But since I discovered the Just Say No program, I once again know what it's like to go to a con for the fun of it and not just for the work. I've been pulled from the very brink of burn-out and gafiation. I still work an occasional con; like I said, I am still an addict. But more and more, I find myself able to Just Say No when asked to work.

So, if there's a lesson that's to be learned from all this, it's that a moderate amount of con work in and of itself may be harmless. But unless you have the willpower to Just Say No, you could end up like me. Think about it...
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There was one other article from Mimosa 4 that actually gained a degree of notoriety -- Anthony Scott King's "At-Home Pet Neutering" article (which, to be fair, had been done more than a bit tongue-in-cheek) had so polarized our readers that they either loved it or hated it. When King re-enacted it, in one of the breaks during the masquerade at the 1988 New Orleans Worldcon, he was booed off the stage!

The fifth issue of Mimosa also debuted at the 1988 Nolacon, and it was the first issue of Mimosa with an actual theme. It was also a transitional issue, as the theme was "Farewell to Tennessee." Rich's position at the Tennessee Valley Authority ended during the summer of 1988 in a round of massive job cutbacks, and it was not until the eve of Nolacon that we knew we would be moving north to Maryland where a new job awaited for him with an Agency of the U.S. Government. It turned out that we had just three weeks notice to pack all our belongings and get our house ready for sale -- and one of those three weeks was spent at Nolacon!

Mimosa 5 featured a number of articles related to Tennessee and Southern Fandom Robert Lichtman wrote about The Farm commune in Lewis County, Tennessee, Carolyn Doyle contributed an article about living in the South as a transplanted northerner, Sharon Farber, newly arrived in Chattanooga from the midwest, began her popular "Tales of Adventure and Medical Life" series with an article that later appeared, in part, in her Nebula-nominated story "The July Ward," and Alan Hutchinson provided a Hoax Convention Report (though much of it actually happened) with "Tales Calculated to Drive You to AWC (Atlanta World Con)."

Nicki also benefitted from the move north with a much better job; her article for M5 (which appears next) is now only a period piece from back in the days before Starbucks conquered the coffee world. But it's also a cautionary tale, still valid even today, for anybody who's even thought of a career in sales.


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