The guy at the checkout was putting my cereal into the bag when he leaned in and said, quietly, “Wil?”
His eyes widened, like he’d said a swear. He stopped short. “May I call you Wil?” I think maybe his voice trembled a little bit.
“Of course you may,” I said. I did my best to reassure him, put him at ease.
In the pre-mask times, I would have seen his smile. Today, I saw hie eyes crinkle up. “I. Love. Wesley Crusher.” He declared.
“Thank you!” I waved my phone over the thing to pay. Living in the future can be cool from time to time. “I love him too!” The thing made a noise indicating that payment had been accepted.
“I mean, he is my very favorite,” he said. I could tell this was important to him.
“That means so much to me,” I said. “Thank you. He’s my favorite, too.” I leaned in like he’d leaned in toward me. “Don’t tell Picard,” I stage whispered.
He smiled with his eyes again. I smiled back with my own.
“I’m so sad they’re taking all seven seasons off of Netflix,” he said.
“Me too. They’re on Paramount+ now, though.”
His posture changed, and I knew he was about to share something with me that he thought was cool.
“I have all seven seasons on DVD. I bought them in 2001. I can watch The Next Generation whenever I want to.”
“That’s awesome,” I said. “I love that you still have them. Thank you for watching our show!” I grabbed my cart.
“Have a great weekend, Mist — Wil,” he said.
“You too. Live long and prosper!”
So many things in my life are gifts, when I remember to be open to receiving them.
17 thoughts on “in which i receive an unexpected gift”
I think I would have a similar reaction if I met you… Assuming I would be able to fins the strength to talk to one of the actors with which I literally grew up!
By the way, I also have my TNG DVDs in my living room and I can watch them whenever I want. :–)
I recently introduced my oldest son to the Star Trek Universe. He’s 8 and we started with Prodigy, which completely sucked him in. Now that the season ended, we’ve started watching TNG, which was my own gateway into the universe. People think kids today only respond to frenetic fast paced shows, but my oldest has gotten just as invested in TNG and regularly asks to watch. The other night, his younger brother, who is 4, was SHOCKED to see Data smoking in the episode where he learns about Sherlock Holmes. This prompted a deep philosophical debate between the kids about whether it is okay for androids to smoke. All this is to say that Wesley is officially on to his second generation of fans.
You are such a ‘great’ person and your response to this person is exactly how is shows. 🙂
I love this post because it makes clear the connection we have as creators and fans of this media. If I had any request it would be that he continue his weekly burrito podcast. It was a welcome addition to the medium.
This is an awesome story, I’m sure you made his day! On the subject of an unexpected gift, I was so surprised and delighted to discover all of these new posts on the blog recently, I love your writing. It looks like email notifications stopped for me in February — I apologize if this has been covered elsewhere that I haven’t yet found, but wondering if anyone here (or Wil) can verify whether email updates are still a thing on the site?
George Takei: The Next Generation.
I didn’t see where this was going, and finished reading the story with a loopy grin on my face. It reminded me of Frankl’s “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” What a wonderful attitude to choose, what a wonderful gift it yielded!
Your grateful with the fans and that’s amazing to see actors that are because you never know what someone else is going through in there lives and fantasies about adventures and things are what gets them through it I’ve loved sci-fi sense I was a kid my dad was obsessed with space and he introduced us to star trek I have watched practically Every episode and had the ship’s as well growing up and my dad would come up with episode idea’s that I wish he could have gotten on paper but with his dyslexia he couldn’t than when he got cancer he wasn’t the same his diagnosis now is schizoaffective bipolar thankfully no Hospitalizations for 15 years now but he never misses a opportunity to watch Star Trek it keeps his mind occupied
Public Service Announcement (and an insider’s tip): Always be wary of the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.
Far too often these days it is used to satisfy the demands of the Imperial Overlords (you can read that instead as “your insurance provider”).
I see this happen all. The. Fraking. Time.
It is the perfect catch-all diagnosis as it straddles the overlap between the affective (mood) disorders and schizophrenia.
The DSM 5 (or now the DSM 5 – TR, released two weeks ago) sets some specific diagnostic parameters for what makes for a true schizoaffective condition. But then again, the APA has, IMHO, turned the mood disorders into a very large messy slop bucket of overlapping criteria.
I’m not trying to contradict or un-do what may be a legitimate and accurate diagnosis. But unlike auto mechanics, where a broken ball joint is a broken ball joint is a broken ball joint, reliably identifying mood disorders in psychiatry can leave a lot to be considered.
So just please be careful. The American mental health ain’t all that great these days. And stigma is still alive and well. No one should internalize or self-label an illness because the attending expert is under pressure to keep his payers happy.
It’s grate when actors are like this with fans because you never know what they are struggling with and how that show could have been a light and distraction from the things happening around them
What a sweet interaction! It’s been many years since I watched TNG but recently re-watched Stand By Me and cried just like the first time I watched it. While I enjoyed TNG you stole my pre-teen heart with Stand By Me and it will always be my favorite role of yours. Probably because I felt like an invisible kid myself.
I’m glad this happened to you. That’s all. 🙂
I think I know exactly how he felt. I, too, loved Wesley Crusher, and that show lives in my mind (and on Paramount+ that I subscribe to just to watch Star Trek). Thank you, Wil. I’m glad that happened and that you let us know. Thank you.
Back in the 2020 lockdown, I introduced my family to The Original Series, and it was a wonderful bonding experience for us. We would watch an episode, and then watch the related music video from Five Year Mission.
We recently started The Next Generation, and are just finishing up Season 1. You are THE favorite character of my kids (ages 12 and 15). So many times, they have exasperatedly exclaimed, “Why don’t they just listen to Wesley?!?”
I remember thinking the exact same thing when I was in 7th grade, during the original airings. I would record each episode on the premiere night, and I wore those VHS tapes out, watching them again and again.
Thanks for playing an important part of our family memories!
I was a late bloomer to TNG, like literally started watching it a few years ago. It’s a great show and we use it to unwind. I’ve read aplenty about how Wesley Crusher was received by many, but there are plenty like myself that appreciate the character just fine.
And I just wanted to say that seeing you play yourself in Big Bang really showed your humble side. It was great!
Live long and prosper my friend.
PS…If we ever have a run in, you better sign my Wesley Crusher mint in package action figure. Just sayin’
I love Wesley, always did! Alongside TNG I had my own fantasy role play where my body was the starship and inside me was my very own crew.The Captain of that crew? Captain Wesley Crusher of course! Not often, but every now and again when feeling particularly vulnerable I can go back to that place and find courage. Weird huh? But I love it. I am blessed enough to work in TV nowadays and celebrities don’t phase me but if I go to a Star Trek convention I’m all nervous, tongue tied and in knots before meeting the actors. You sound like a really decent guy in real life, I’ve not met you yet at a convention but when I do I won’t be so nervous! Thanks mate.
I just came here to say that you are about a year or two older than me. I always loved the character of Wesley and almost felt like he was a fictional “big” brother of sorts. In many ways, I felt connected to your character even more than the adults on the TNG and I appreciated getting to grow up along side your character. Both then and now I appreciate what you have done and are currently doing, so I wanted to thank you!
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