From the Vault: unpublished and unfinished scene from a grocery store

I'm working on repairing and restoring WWdN (don't get too excited or update your bookmarks just yet, my blog will live here no matter what), and while I was cleaning up duplicate blog entries, I came across several unpublished drafts of posts that I decided were too personal to publish, too unfocused, or just never finished.

This looks like it was probably the beginning of something that I never finished. I think it kind of shows something important – a blurry snapshot, I guess – from a very particular time in my life. This is from 2003. I haven't published Just A Geek, I'm struggling like crazy in every way that maters, and I'm not quite 31:

I just got back from the grocery store, where I was picking up breakfast for tomorrow morning. While I was picking up my bags to leave, the cashier, a man in his 40s who has helped me in the past, turned to me and said, "Hey, you know who you look like?"

I told him that I didn't . . . but I was pretty sure I knew where he was headed.

"Wil Wheaton," he told me.

"Yeah, that's me," I replied, feeling self conscious and embarassed, as I always do when this happens.

He paused, and frowned.

"No way. You are not!" He declared with a chuckle, "good try, though."

I didn't write beyond that, so I don't know exactly (and can't remember) how it made me feel as I walked out to my car, but I imagine I felt pretty lousy. Prove To Everyone was loud and relentless back then, and what would make me smile and laugh now just made me feel like shit then. Maybe that's why I didn't write about it, because it would have been a big old pity party.

I can look back on it now, though, since I know what happens (eventually), and want to tell 2003 me not to worry too much, that we're going to (eventually) be okay, so just stay on target and keep on working at it … but even if I could, I wouldn't. Those years were painful, but they were necessary. 

Still, a little hug wouldn't hurt, right?

81 thoughts on “From the Vault: unpublished and unfinished scene from a grocery store”

  1. I would tell 2003 Wil not to take it in a bad way…the guy probably just couldn’t reconcile the idea that he would meet Wil Wheaton in the grocery store with what he thought was reality, so he dismissed it despite the evidence in front of his face. I’m glad 2010 Wil can laugh at that sort of thing, though!

  2. Well… it’s not as bad as what happened to Farin Urlaub, singer of the German band “Die Ärzte”.
    One guy once came up to him and said: “Hey you look like Farin Urlaub only fatter!” ;)

  3. I dont think the grocery guy meant anything nasty towards you Wil, he would have just been surprised to see someone from TV doing grocery shopping. It’s easy to be dismissive in such instances.
    The best example of this type of tale, apart from the Lennon one already mentioned, was when Elvis came second in an Elvis Karaoke competition – at an Airport Lounge IIRC :)
    Thanks for sharing
    H

  4. *Virtual hugs for everyone*
    We all need a hug now & then. Thanks, 2003 Wil. Your pain gave us the awesome that is 2010 Wil, and you’re not so shabby yourself.

  5. “Future you will one day hug present you, and then remind present you that present you never gave up.”
    Exactly. Reading your stuff showed me that you need to do work you love. I too had a lot to learn and to go through, but I didn’t give up an last Saturday I opened my very own little practice/clinic (don’t know the exact english word for this). 2003 me stares openmouthed at 2010 me and shakes her head unbelievingly.
    So, thank you, Wil. And: *hug*
    Bests from Germany
    Nicole

  6. *hugs 2003 Wil*
    You know, 2003 Wil, one day you will see the very first glimpse of light and hope, something Proof to Everyone never will see.
    Even people in 2010 will need to be reassured that they’ll do great.
    (Oh, and that guy you were talking to, 2003 Wil? He probably didn’t recognize you since… well, you grew up since Star Trek TNG. He saw a rerun.)

  7. I wish I could give 2003 Wil a big hug. For some reason, geeks in distress always bring out that response in me, and I feel like the least I can do is give them a cuddle and maybe some boobie-smooshing.
    Wil, there are loads of people out there who are in the same place you were. Can you think of anything we could do to find and help them? Or is their pain necessary too? I honestly don’t know, but my kneejerk response is always going to be to try and make it all better.

  8. Don’t worry about being ‘recognised as looking like yourself, but people not believing you are you’
    Wasn’t it Charlie Chaplin who once came second in a Charlie Chaplin Look-a-Like contest?
    Have a great day!
    KW

  9. Hi Wil,
    I’ve emailed Chris several times about a contract for the September visit, but can’t get any response. I don’t know if it’s getting in his spam filter, or what, but the VP is getting antcy. I’m going to email him again right now. See, 2003 Wil? It’s all good.
    Thanks,
    [email protected]

  10. It starts with a hug, Wil, but before long, you’re telling him who won the World Series in 2005, Mark Zuckerberg becomes President of the United States, and your kids! Something has to be done about your kids! Well, and then Michael J Fox will have to come and clean it all up.
    Don’t do it, Wil. Friends don’t let friends cross their own timeline.

  11. Oh well, you need to think about it this way back then. If cashier didn’t believe you were Wil Wheaton then he just lost his chance to get an autograph. At least he knew there is a famous Wil Wheaton out there. You shouldn’t not have taken it so personal because even though everyone wants to be recognized, but sometimes is its just a good to blend in. What I don’t like is that people recognize you, and you are suppose to remember them, but you don’t. *Those moments are so awkward* *Big Hugs* :)

  12. Virtual hug!
    I don’t know how it took me so long to rediscover you (I was a religious :TNG fan growing up) – especially with quite a few mutual acquaintances.
    …but I have to say: you’re the coolest guy ever. In all seriousness. Every time I turn around, I’m like “I hope I’m as awesome a stepdad-person… and he likes D&D AND Roller Derbies! Can he get any cooler?”
    In conclusion, grocery-store-guy probably couldn’t fathom being around such coolness.

  13. I think there is a lull in life around the early 30s… You are escaping being a “kid” but not really an adult either. To complicate it, you are “acting” like an adult with the responsibilities by that point, though, I think they are a newer experience.

  14. I know that exact feeling. The same thing happens with me, except with Summer Glau instead of Harry Potter. I *kind of* see it – at most I think we look like we could maybe be cousins, yet some people seem to see it more than others. Regardless, it has gotten to the point where I hear “Hey, you know who you remind me of…?” and I suddenly feel a little like punching.
    The plus side to having gained weight over the last two years is that this doesn’t happen nearly as often these days.

  15. Here’s the thing, Wil (May I call you Wil? Too late. It’s already posted).
    Prove to Everybody may have been a dick, despite your frequent mantra that he not be, but really? You should recount that experience positively. A guy says you look like Wil Wheaton and when you say you are, he doesn’t believe you. And why would he? People just don’t believe that they’ll see celebrities buying groceries or going into McDonald’s. In his mind, Wil Wheaton was a big celebrity, in spite of how you may have felt. And big celebrities don’t buy their own groceries. You may or may not have felt belittled, but to him, you were a guy trying to be someone cooler than he pegged you to be.
    You were there and he didn’t even know it. You, sir, are a ninja of awesomeness.

  16. Though through Prove to Everybody you may feel like your “don’t be a dick” philosophy was learned by your own example, this grocery store guy obviously proves you were on the receiving end more often than you might give yourself credit for.
    And if it makes you feel any better, the story made me laugh — at least until you got to the point where you mentioned how it probably made you feel.
    And since you gave me a laugh, I’ll share this.
    For a long time in 2005 and so, the first time in my gay adult life I was single, I got “you know who you remind me of?” a lot — and it was, almost always,
    Clay Aiken.
    I feel that we have nothing in common but red hair and faggotry. And most who know me well never saw it. And always, those who said it found Mr. Aiken appealing so were using it as a compliment/way to get into my pants. And at least one of the guys who said it was the kind of guy who was hot enough that heywould never think that anybody they were talking to in a “chat him up” way would ever have any sort of crushing self-esteem issues. So now I can look back on those times and laugh and laugh and laugh.
    Still, though, at the time, it was a knife. Every. Single. Time.

  17. Well I bet the past you wouldn’t know that you’d cause a newcomer to your future podcast to become an Oingo Boingo fanatic practically overnight. And that’s really saying something…being that several people have tried and failed in the past (how did I ever grow up in the 80s and miss these awesome tunes?).
    And considering that I once took music lessons from a member of the band and STILL never got into their music is what makes this a truly incredible thing. ^_^
    Many thanks to you, good sir. :)

  18. I think the next time that happens, and you’re within a few miles of your house, you should flatly ask “hmm, where do you think Wil lives?”

  19. You came up in conversation with a friend of mine the other day.
    We kinda were talking about if we saw a celebrity walking down the street, would we interrupt them and treat them differently..
    I always came to the conclusion not to. It seems a bit rude because the celebrity is probably just walking down the street, doing their shopping in their own thoughts and the last thing you need is some gawking fan taking you out of that. I used to see one of my local celebrities catch the train every so often, reading through the scripts for his latest episode. I would often divert my eyes elsewhere, read my own book because I figured he was travelling on the train for the same reason as most other people do, its a chance just get some reading done.
    I can definitely understand being fan struck, i.e. writing on this blog, leaving comments has a element of that. I guess the advantage of the blog though is you get the choice of what you present to us and its timing. You not putting out the post 7 years ago is just your ability to have your own privacy which we all should respect. If you want to not tell us you had shit feelings over a simple encounter then please do :)
    I also write this as I’m unsure of my life. I feel in a ruct, I don’t think anyone respects me who truly knows me.

  20. Wil, I’ve been going through a really rough time over the last year or so, but since finding your books/blog/podcast I don’t feel so bad, and I’m confident things will get better. Reading through your archive really inspires me, so much so that I’ve started writing again after more than a decade. Thanks for sharing your life with us.
    *manly bro-hug*

  21. Hey, is this revamp what we talked about at Nerd Prom two years ago? If so, holler, and I’ll be happy to help, if I can.

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