He finally told me one year, "I am not doing the bunny suit, man. I am sick of the constant Energizer comments about going and going and going or the jokes about Ralphie. The suit smells. The dry cleaner won't touch it. It is so gross, and it gets stored in a hot attic and gets grosser every time I have to wear it. Just play some kind of song." So I spoke with the tech crew, and someone suggested "Tiny Bubbles," because he had "The Greatest Hits of Do Ho," which is an oxymoron if you ask me. The joke was his name was Tynie, the song was Tiny Bubbles... ha ha ha, right? No. The joke went flat, and all he recognized was, "Tynies's Bubbles!" and poked at some random balloon someone had made with his fingers. And after that performance, he sort of gave up his stage life, and eventually vanished from view.
But the damn song stayed. For years afterward, the tech crew played "Tiny Bubbles" when I was onstage. I was always guilty when the song played, since all I could remember was how Tynie being burned out an assaulted with bunny costume requests. But apart from that, there was something almost magically hypnotic about it. The tech crew wouldn't play it when I got on; the only person who had theme music was Bruce, the convention chairman, who got the Emperor's March from Empire Strikes Back. The tech crew would wait and just randomly play "Tiny Bubbles" usually during some awkward pause between guests and announcements. And they'd dim the lights, and my audience, so used to the joke, would wave their arms back and forth slowly in tune to the music like waves of seaweed. Sometimes we had a bubble machine, and the tech crew would turn on red and blue roving stage lights, and... I know some of you WERE my audience members, but you were never onstage when it happened. It was something otherworldly. Waving audience, red and blue lights, a bubble machine, Don Ho, and thou.
And I am sure I stood there, looking like a dying fish, wondering what the heck my next line should be. I usually just waited it out, or waved my arms as well. Towards the end, I made jokes about this was what techno was like under Quaaludes, which Bruce disapproved of because he was very anti-drug, even in jest.
Another joke was "Turn around, Punkie, TURN AROUND!" This joke started with Bruce or his wife Cheryl, I am not sure. In the earlier days, Bruce used to be seen at the convention in his button-down dress shirt, slacks, loafers, and a purple cape. He would also have a small brownish-maroon duffel bag with his notebook and info about the con in case he had to whip out a hotel contract or some tissues. At some point after he married Cheryl, she decided that a purple cape was simply too plain. There was a plethora of costumes she made for themselves when they were onstage, which led to one of them turning around to display what Cheryl had made. Soon, people would say, "Turn around, Bruce, TURN AROUND!" so he could show off what he was wearing. Even if it wasn't anything more than a blazer made from sequins. Soon, this extended to ANYONE coming onstage in costume. Or even if they just wore a tee shirt and jeans like I did. Towards the end of FanTek conventions, I was usually the only one on stage for any length of time, and the "Turn around, Punkie, TURN AROUND!" became the most often then said while I was presenting anything.
This spread to other cons. Eventually, it died down, but a few people still say it. Other people say it and don't even know why, it's like some kind of odd ritual. I always oblige, and sometimes do a curtsy afterward.