Return of SpongeBob Vega$pants
When we last left our hero, he had survived a horrible snubbing by toupeed Priceline.com pitchman and former stock-holding billionaire WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER, only to be verbally attacked by a disgruntled Star Trek fan.
Let’s go to the tape…
THIS IS THE MOST FAN UNFRIENDLY CONVENTION I HAVE EVER BEEN TO!”
And she storms away.
What the fuck?
Well, at least it can only get better, right?
Right, it can, and it does. Lots of people come by, people of varying ages, nationalities, sanity, and levels of costumery. I sign pictures of the young, geeky Wesley Crusher. I sign posters of the Teen Heart-throb that I’m told I once was. I sign posters that I’m not even on, in silver because everyone else did, accepting the apologies from the poster owners that I’m not on the poster. I always answer with the same joke: “That’s okay, you just can’t see me, because I’m on this planet here…” sign, sign. They laugh, and feel good, and I repeat the same ritual for the next 3 hours, for close to a thousand people. In all of this, there is really only one person who just freaks me out, and it only lasts for a few minutes, and I let security know, and we’re all okay again.
You know the cool thing? There are these fans who came over from Germany, and some of them are girls, and they are HOT. And they tell me, in broken English, how much they love me. Oh yeah, tell me some more baby. Tell daddy how you love him.
I am so sorry. I have no idea where that came from. I apologize.
Speaking of broken English, there are 20 Japanese kids, all together, who’ve come over from Tokyo for the show. And they are, each and every one of them, totally cool. They are so excited, and having such a great time. The girls ask me if I’d please sign their names on it, and I do, and they giggle, and bow, and blush, and thank me, over and over. For a second, I feel like a rockstar. Then I look up, and the face that’s looking back at me is this guy who’s like 40, and he’s wearing a spacesuit that’s a little too small, and he’s made up like one of those blue guys with antennae from the original Star Trek. Andorians, I think they’re called. And I am rocked back from my “Almost Famous” fantasy, back into “Galaxy Quest” (at least it’s not “Trekkies“, right?)
Oh, this was so damn cool. One of the Japanese kids was a boy, about my height, and he comes up to me and says that his friends tell him that he looks exactly like me. That they tell him that I am his twin.
Last time I checked, I wasn’t Japanese, but I’m not about to dump on this guy, so I look at him, and I say, “Dude. You are so right. It’s like I’m looking in a mirror!” He turns to his friends, says something in Japanese, and they all share and excited murmur. I felt like I made the guy’s morning, which was cool. He asked me to sign his Wesley Crusher action figure, which I do, with the following inscription: “To Tamako,[I think that was his name] my long lost twin brother: Don’t Panic! -Wil Wheaton”
That was really cool.
Tangent: It’s wierd being a “celebrity”. People tend to give celebrities more attention than normal people. They seem to think that if you’re on TV, or play a sport, your opinion is somehow more valid than the guy sitting next to you…I’ve never subscribed to this ideal, because I’ve met tons of celebrities in my life, and most of them are really, really, REALLY, lame, and not very smart. Especially the athletes.
Well, one of the cool things about celebrity that I can touch people’s lives, in some ways. I mean, there are people who are so into TV or whatever, that just by meeting me, or one of the other Trek people, they get super excited. That’s why I think it’s so important that we’re not dicks to them. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re scary, and freaky and wierd, I’m gonna get rid of you as fast as I can. I don’t care how many tribbles you have…but sometimes, I get to meet someone, like the guy who said I was his twin, and just by being cool, I can make him really, really happy. I really like that.
I have always said that if I take 30 seconds to sign a picture or a napkin or something, and it makes someone really happy, I am the biggest asshole on earth, I mean, WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER big, if I don’t do it.
So let this tangent be a notice to all you future superstars out there: Whether you asked for it or not, once you’re a celebrity, you *are* a role model, because people pay attention to you. So don’t be a dick. And sign autographs with a smile, and make people feel good for coming up to you, because, believe it or not, they were scared to do it, and you’ve got a chance to leave them feeling good, or feeling like shit. Pop quiz, asshole:some nervous guy comes up to you, and asks you if you’ll sign his book. What do you do? What do you do?!
So the signing goes on.
And It gets closer and closer to 1:30, when I am supposed to leave, so I can rehearse with my group for our show, but there are still something like 150 people who still haven’t gotten their autographs. And I know, that as you get towards the end of the line, your signature degrades. Your humor slows down. You feel tired and worn out, and you just don’t have what the fans deserve. I know it, and it sucks, and I work VERY hard to treat the last 150 the same as the first 150, but sometimes, you’re just not physically able.
So I made a choice: I decided to leave, and get those 150 people the next day. I was going to be there all weekend, and stuff, and I figured that if I signed those people’s stuff tomorrow, they would get a refreshed, funny, cool me, rather than the top of my head (which, I understand the gay community has wanted for years. Sorry guys.).
But there was a risk: I mean, most of these people want to hate me. Don’t forget that. They’ve spent the last 14 years building me up to be this awful thing, and they reallly need me to validate that for them, by being a dick, or vapid, or whatever. I was nervous that this leaving would give them exactly what they were looking for.
So I stood up, and made an announcement:
“Guys! I was told I’d be done by 1PM.”
The grumbling begins.
“It’s now 1:30, and I’m supposed to be rehearsing with my sketch group right now.”
The grumbling gets louder, their sense of entitlement now roused.
“But I’ll be here all weekend, and I’ll sign whatever you want tomorrow. If I don’t go now, the show will suck.”
And an amazing thing happens. They all let me go, with good humor. They weren’t sad at all. They were actually singing. They sang without posters! They sang without pictures! They sang without autographs, blasters and fixtures!
So I left, and got back to the hotel.
And because I was late, the group had gone and done other things, like gambling, without me.
So I took a nap. One of those naps that lasts only 30 minutes, but feels like a whole night’s sleep.
I woke up, ate, showered, changed, packed my bags with costumes and props, and headed back to the con for the show.
And, of course, Andy Rooney.