PSA: Know your audience
So... this happened to me yesterday and I'm still kinda freaked out. I'm hoping that if I talk about it here with my fellow filmmakers, I'll somehow find enough humor in the situation to laugh it off.
I know it's hard to believe, but I'm single. (Ladies...) I use a bunch of mobile dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and the one where this went down, Coffee Meets Bagel. I matched with a seemingly-nice Chinese girl whose English wasn't the best, but my ex was from the PRC so I'm used to that. We chatted for a few days and then I mentioned that I build stuff, specifically Harry Potter and Star Wars-themed props. She wanted to see pictures, so I asked her for her mobile # since CMB doesn't let you send photos to other users.
I texted her several pictures of my HP wands and lightsaber builds, including a couple of repainted Nerf guns and in-progress saber hilts. I told her exactly what they were; "Star Wars lightsabers built with a variety of parts."
She sent back a response: "Wtf?????" - I had no idea what that was supposed to mean, so I simply replied "What? Too awesome?"... and that was the last I heard from her. I didn't pay that any mind, because it was in the middle of the workday and hey, we can't waste our entire day flirting when there's dollars to earn.
Anyway, a few hours later as I was getting ready to leave the office, a couple of guys walked in and asked for for "Steve". Our office is a fishbowl, and there's three guys named Steve; we figured they were solicitors (which we get fairly often despite the "No Solicitors" sign on the door) and asked which Steve they meant.
They wanted me, and showed me their badges, identifying themselves as being from my local PD. Having no idea what was going on, I confirmed that it was me and we went into the conference room. One of them pulled out a piece of paper with a printout of one of the pictures I'd texted, then explained to me that someone had called 911 after getting this picture on her phone... and from where he stood, it looked like a weapon and multiple pipe bombs.
After I got done turning completely white, I told them the entire story, ending with "They're lightsabers, if you're familiar with Star Wars. That 'weapon' is a Nerf gun I'm in the middle of painting to look like a laser blaster."
I guess one of the detectives was a nerd, because he smiled and said, "Called it. I said on the way over that they looked like lightsabers." The conversation got a bit lighter at that point, but they were definitely playing Good Cop/Bad Cop because one of them asked me a few more pointed questions about whether or not I was sure that if "they raided my address that they wouldn't find anything illegal".
They left shortly after, satisfied that I wasn't a threat. But you can be sure I will not be attempting to impress any hotties with my mad prop skillz in the future unless she's already assured me of her devotion to the Light Side of the Force.
I swear, I was shaking for the rest of the night. That could have gone so much worse.