by Teresa Jusino
There comes a point when one can no longer sit on an important fact; when the weight of years puts so much pressure on a fact that one must either reveal it, or explode. I’ll spare the world the arduous task of scraping up Teresabits. Here it is:
Wil Wheaton owes me $12.00.
It was the late eighties, and I was still in my single digits. I had seen a movie called Stand By Me, and while every other little girl my age fawned over River Phoenix, I fell in love with the boy who played Gordie LaChance. He was like me, a writer; an outcast. He had an older sibling he loved, and parents who were kind to him, but whom he couldn’t fully understand and couldn’t understand him.
Also, he had the most awesome smile ever, and the kind of puppy eyes that can melt a seven-year-old heart.
Then came a turning point in my life. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Finally! A Star Trek for me! No more could my older siblings lord it over my head that they’d been alive during the original Star Trek‘s run. It didn’t matter, because I now had a Trek all my own. What’s more? It starred a certain favorite child star of mine. Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher, the cutest genius in the universe (or at least in the Alpha Quadrant). At eight o’clock on Saturday nights, whether I was home or at a friend’s house, I would find the nearest TV and watch Wesley (and those other old people), and my loved ones knew to leave me alone for an hour. Nothing came between me and my TNG.
A crush was born, and I would use any saved money I had to buy magazines like Bop and Teen Beat and hang up any posters of Wil Wheaton I could find. This was a crush I fiercely defended. All my friends were into guys like Jonathan Brandis and Kirk Cameron, and they didn’t quite get what I saw in the skinny geek in the grey jumpsuit. It didn’t matter. My love was true.
One day, in one of those magazines somewhere between an ad for Caboodles and a subscription card, I read about the Wil Wheaton Fan Club. Cut out this order form, enclose a check or money order for $12.00, and send it to…
My heart leapt. An 8 x 10 autographed picture, you say?! A newsletter?! An official membership card?! It seemed too awesome to be true! I had most of the money in brown paper coin wrappers. The rest, I got from my older brother and sister, who tormented me by making me do things for them before they’d give me anything. After getting my brother countless beverages and taking several phone messages for my sister, I had the money I needed. I filled out the little order form, had my mother get me a money order with my twelve dollars, and I even bought my own stamp. I proudly addressed it and put it in the mailbox on the corner myself. Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. I could wait 6-8 weeks. I’d wait forever to be a member of the club!
And wait I did.
For the first few days, I checked the mail obsessively, knowing that it hadn’t been anywhere near 6-8 weeks yet, but needing to do something with my excitement. The first week went by, and I got more sensible. After all, I was eight. I was a big girl! I could be patient. So I didn’t check the mail as much, though I listened as other people did, waiting for the glorious day when someone would say, “A package for Terry?” and I would clutch my prize in triumph!
More weeks went by, and my excitement fizzled into exasperation. This was going to take the full eight weeks, wasn’t it? As Baby Herman said in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Sister Mary Francis! What the hell is going on here?! It became a running joke around my house – Did your mail from Wil Wheaton come yet? Eight weeks became nine weeks. Nine became ten. Ten became twice that. Eventually, I forgot about it. I forgot about it, and I lost my faith in teen magazines (and teen actors) forever.
You broke an eight-year-old girl’s heart, Wil Wheaton. Now, look – I’m a reasonable gal. I know that it probably wasn’t your doing. You had people handling your fan club business. I get it. Yet, somewhere in California, there’s an envelope covered in girly eight-year-old scrawl containing a money order for $12.00 made out to the Wil Wheaton Fan Club. Yet I never got my membership package, sir, and I deserve some sort of recompense. It doesn’t have to be twelve dollars. It could be anything. A blog entry devoted to me, perhaps? My twenty-one year old membership package delivered at long last?
If you don’t want to do this for me, then do it for this girl:
It was really hard for her to earn twelve dollars in 1987. Don’t let it have been in vain.
TERESA JUSINO was born on the same day that Skylab fell. Coincidence? She doesn’t think so. As a writer, her work has appeared in Elmont Life newspaper, and on the sadly defunct website, CentralBooking.com. She has recently become a comic reviewer for PopMatters.com, and is currently at work on several fiction projects, including a collection of short stories and a comic. As a geek, Teresa loves Star Trek, Lost, comics, and anything Joss Whedon ever touched. She has a fangirl *squee-ing* crush on Brian K. Vaughan, which beat up her Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man crush in a fight proving once again that writing skill trumps gadget skill even when that gadget skill is attached to bulging biceps. Teresa is also an aspiring fangbanger. Get Twitterpated with Teresa, or visit her in The Red Room.
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