Just a few of my favorite things, and a story…
Wil signed this plate for me at the Polaris Con (Toronto, Ontario, CANADA) this past July. I’ll always remember that day for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, I had the opportunity to meet someone I truly admired. Not just because of his work on Stand By Me, Next Gen, and my recent favorite show, Eureka. Not just for his written work (Just a Geek, Dancing Barefoot, etc). Not even just for everything he has done for geek and gaming culture with his Tabletop show on Geek & Sundry. What excited me the most was the chance to meet someone I had literally grown up with, and to let him know how much I had appreciated his journey, what he had accomplished, and how I was looking forward to seeing what he would do next.
Secondly, it was a day that had a shadow hanging over it. I had just lost my father suddenly the weekend before, and his funeral service had taken place less than 24 hours before I met Wil. I had told myself I would do what my father would have wanted me to - continue to live my life, and do the things that were important to me. That included going to this convention, spending some much needed time with my wife, and trying not to dwell on things I couldn’t change.
When I walked up to the table with my arms full I was greeted with a smile and a polite hello. Wil signed my plate (he even offered to draw a cowboy hat on himself, but I told him he didn’t have to go to the trouble), a “mint on card” Playmates Wesley Crusher figure, and my copy of “Just A Geek”. I gifted him my oversized set of Canadian gaming dice (Bright translucent red with white numbers). I told him everything I had planned to, he thanked me, and I was about to leave.
I don’t know why (looking back I’m still not sure why), but I told Wil about my father. I told him that meeting him had made one of the most difficult times of my life at least a little better for having had this opportunity to meet him. He told me he was sorry for my loss, and he wished me all the best. I said a few more words, none of which I can recall, and I left feeling absolutely mortified. I felt selfish and stupid.
I spent the rest of the weekend at the Con trying not to beat myself up to badly about what had happened. I told myself that Wil would have forgotten about it by the time the next fan strolled up to his table, and I should do the same. Still, when I came home Sunday evening, the only thing I didn’t unpack were those items Wil had signed.
They stayed tucked in a bag, in my office, for the next couple of months. The thought of displaying them in anyway seemed to re-invite those feelings of embarrassment, but eventually I realized that there was nothing I could do to change that day. I met a hero of mine, and I made an ass of myself. I probably wasn’t the first, I certainly won’t be the last.
All I can say is if Wil ever has the chance to read this: I’m truly sorry if I made you uncomfortable, even for a minute. That was never my intention. You’re the coolest cat in the universe Mr. Wheaton. Thanks for everything.