In which a trading card is autographed, ruined, saved, and charity auction’d

If you follow me on Twitter (thank you and I’m sorry) you know that I spent the last four days cleaning out my garage to make room for a homebrewery. I came across a lot of awesome things from a lifetime in showbiz, as well as a bunch of 80s and 90s artifacts that I was able to afford due to the aforementioned lifetime and the showbiz in which it was spent.

I documented the more memorable things on Twitter, and a non-zero number of people on the Internet seemed to enjoy taking the nostalgic journey with me.

One of the things I got out of the garage was this Star Trek trading card:

Wesley Crusher and the Sunglasses of Justice

The more observant among you are probably thinking something like, “Hey, Wil Wheaton, what gives, man? Wesley never wore the Sunglasses of Justice on Star Trek! In fact, I own or have seen that trading card, and I know for a fact that he isn’t wearing sunglasses at all! YOU’RE A PHONY WIL WHEATON! A BIG FAT PHONY!”

Okay, first of all, calm down. It’s all going to make sense in a moment. Please read on for the description I wrote to go with this trading card on eBay:

So imagine this: your friends Paul and Storm are in town to shoot some pick up shots for their soon-to-be hit webseries Learning Town. They ask you if they can come hang out, because they’re bored.

And then you’re like, “Oh, sure, because you’re bored. Not because you enjoy my delightful company and insightful commentary on current events as well as various aspects of popular culture and encyclopedic knowledge of internet memes. Good day, sir!”

But before you can say “I said GOOD DAY,” they promise to bring you a burrito.

“Curses,” you think to yourself, “my one weakness. How could they have known?!”

So they come over, with burritos and everything, and you hang out and eat a pretty rockin’ mojado-style burrito, and it’s great. Then, around the time they’re getting ready to leave, one of them, who we’ll call PAUL for this story, says, “Oh, hey, can you autograph a Star Trek thing for a person I know because you were on Star Trek and this person is, like, really all about Star Trek?”

You have been cleaning out your garage for four days, and you happen to have excavated a bunch of things from a lifetime in showbiz, including some trading cards from a science fiction television series you worked on as a teenager, so you say, “Yeah, I’d be happy to do that. In fact, I have a pretty cool one right here on the kitchen counter for some reason so let me whip out the Sharpie pen all famous actors carry with them at all time for use in occasions such as these and get to work.”

You uncap your pen and scrawl your magnificent autograph, which you’ve developed for years and years after tens of thousands of efforts, across one side of the card. But then, for reasons that may or may not be related to the two homebrewed beers you’ve enjoyed — and earned, because remember you have spent four surprisingly emotional days reliving pretty much your entire life through artifacts — you finish your signature with a flourish that drags an angry black line right across your face.

“Well, crap,” you might say. “I’ve ruined this, just like some angry people say I ruined that show they loved twenty-five years ago.

But then you get an idea! You know how to save it and turn it into a priceless work of collectible art that will surely sell on an online auction site for ones or even fives of dollars. I mean, we’re not talking dented ping pong ball money, but it’s still something nice to give to your local humane society. So you start to turn the line into sunglasses, and when you’re drawing the second lens, you realize that maybe you should have just turned it into an eye patch, because that would make Wesley Crusher cool like Snake Plissken.

“Man, I should have made this an eyepatch,” you say, “because sunglasses are so pedestrian.”

And that’s when it hits you: dude, you’ve got this. You know how to save this, because you’re a professional and you know exactly what the hell you’re doing. You turn the sunglasses into THE SUNGLASSES OF JUSTICE and write, “YEEEAAAHHHH!” right across the top. You slam the card down on the table and say, “Nailed it,” because you did.

That’s when your friend tells you that he forgot the name of the person he wanted the goddamn thing for in the first place, so if you could just go ahead and sign something different in the future that would be great and you are all OMG DUDE I MADE THIS JUST FOR YOU AND NOW YOU DON’T EVEN WANT IT WHAT THE HELL MAN.

And that is when you realize you could probably take this card and put it in the trash … or put it on eBay as a charity auction with a stupid description that isn’t as funny as it should be, considering how long you took writing it.

Okay, Person On The Internet, here’s what you’re bidding on: a Star Trek trading card of everyone’s favorite ensign (SHUT UP HE WAS THE MOST POPULAR CHARACTER EVER I REJECT YOUR REALITY AND SUBSTITUTE MY OWN), signed by Wil Wheaton, who is a pretty neat guy. It is ruined and restored exactly as described above and in the accompanying picture. If you want, he’ll even write the name of your choice on it (probably on the back or maybe in small print on the bottom) or draw a bird on it. It won’t be a good bird, because he can’t draw at all, but it will be in a nest and have a beak that really says, “I am such a bird! Look at this beak! It’s two triangles!” The bird may have wings, depending on things, but wings are NOT GUARANTEED.

This card will be put into an envelope, stamped with a REAL WESLEY CRUSHER STAMP THAT IS TOTALLY AMAZING BECAUSE I FOUND IT IN MY GARAGE THIS WEEKEND, and mailed to the address of your choosing. You won’t even have to pay for shipping, because Wil Wheaton is a pretty neat guy.

See? It all makes sense now, doesn’t it. Also, 100% of the final bid on this trading card will be given to the Pasadena Humane Society, because they help pets like Seamus and Marlowe find their forever families.

41 thoughts on “In which a trading card is autographed, ruined, saved, and charity auction’d”

  1. This is the most epic of epic tales told.

    I applaud your work, good sir.

    This story left me in a humorous state and made me guffaw and chuckle with the mightiest of might.

    Good day, Sir Wheaton

  2. First the awesomeness of Epic Garage Clean-out in which you share SO MUCH COOLNESS of your life with us, and now this? Saving puppies and kitties? Methinks you’re trying to make the internet and happy and joyful place, Wil. And succeeding mightily.

  3. I don’t care what your reasoning is for selling the card on Ebay, I just applaud you for donating the money to your local Humane Society. As an employee of my local Humane Society, we need more people like you in the world!

  4. I don’t know if I’m more impressed that you raised over $1100 with a dented ping pong ball or that the buyer left you such freaking awesome feedback. Keep up the good work.

  5. Well, as much as I’d love to have such a fine collectible, especially with such a storied origin, it’s already WAY out of my price range (which, to be fair, is somewhere between a pack of gum and bus-fare in level, and thus not so much a price range as a poverty line). Nonetheless, great post, and I hope it finds a wonderful new home.

    Also, I really want a burrito now. DAMN YOU WHEATON!

  6. Amazing!! I love it! Anything else you could sign and send me! Just giving you another reason to use your Will Wheaton stamp of course!!
    “I reject your reality and substitute it with my own” I must remember to use that!

  7. The ginormous crush my teenage self had on Wesley Crusher is now completely justified. Those sunglasses are awesome and they have retroactively destroyed any possibility that Wesley was bad for the show in this or any other reality.

  8. “The Sunglasses of Justice”? is that the official name for that meme? man, i hate those glasses. your card (and the story behind it), on the other hand, is awesome.

    1. It’s actually written that way in the scripts for the show. I auditioned once, and it said “HORATIO PUTS ON THE SUNGLASSES OF JUSTICE” before he said whatever thing he said.

    1. That’s what I said! (Well, okay, so I said it was Sparks on class picture day, when they made him take off his hat, but whatever. Same principle!)

  9. Wil – your tweets totally made my day yesterday. I mean I enjoyed them all, but yesterday, when I was stressed at work, I loved them even more.

    And then I just read this story, so you made my Wednesday too.

  10. I loved watching the archeological dig you showed us via Twitter. As a teen geek girl from the 80′s and 90′s I squeed more times then I’d like to admit. Forget the haters and rock the homebrew. Wish I had the extra money to bid on that awesome card.

  11. Not that I don’t like charity and all, but I wish there were lots of charity items for sale so I could get one for less than my monthly mortgage payment. : D

  12. The third to last paragraph, being the fine print of the auction, is quite possibly the most amazing thing in this post. You may or may not receive a bird that may or may not have wings! Hoorah! Oh, Wil.

  13. I believed this would hover around $100, thus giving me a fair chance on bidding on it.
    It is now at $760 and out of my price range. Congratulations for a seemingly very successful way of turning random junk into funds for your local Humane Society :)

  14. This reminds me of a $25 donation I have to make to the PHS. I made a unilateral challenge to myself a few weeks before the US elections. For the record: I am not a US citizen, nor live there and was not a voter. Many of my friends are though and posting, liking, responding, sharing etc political things was taking up a lot of my time and it wasn’t helping anyone. So I decided to not do any such thing until at least after the last voting booth was closed. If I did anyone calling me out could make me donate $5 to a charity of their choice. If no one could (or did) I would donate $25 to the PHS.

    So, tonight I will make that donation.

  15. I think I know what’s going to end the world [not really] on December 21st: someone winning this card, sending it to David Caruso as a gift, and taking a picture of him holding the card Velvet Wesley-style. The structural integrity field of the planet couldn’t handle that.

  16. The line about the bird beak: ” it will be in a nest and have a beak that really says, ‘I am such a bird! Look at this beak! It’s two triangles!’ ” had me on the floor. This is awesome! Bless you for donating to the animal society, too. :) You are a force for good, Wheaton.

  17. You know, if *I* was friends with Paul and Storm, I would find it utterly irresistible to sing “Enormous Penis” by way of greeting them EVERY. DAMN. TIME.

  18. I also feel compelled to point out that the George Takei autographed card eBay showed me at the bottom of the page for *your* card is currently going for $26. Take that, Sulu!

    (Actually, that makes me sad, because George is pretty much the funniest gay rights activist on Facebook.)

  19. For all those who say that they’d love it, but no… “too bad, I bid on it or wanted to… but now its out of my price range.”

    Give a ‘dollar’, or buy a small bleach, or go to wallyworld for one thing that is fairly inexpensive and get some towels, go to a 2nd hand store if corporations are not your thing, or get paper towels, or some food and then DONATE them to your local Humane Society (or shelter). You could go and spend an afternoon (depending on the shelter) and just go walk dogs and help clean the place.

    There are lots of ways to contribute. You may not get something material, but it’ll be worth it.

    Wil, thank you so much for this! I hope it goes to an outrageous figure.

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