All posts by Wil

Author, actor, producer. On a good day, I am charming as fuck.

I was nine years-old when I had my first crush

Author’s note: these memories are extremely old. I’ve done my best to convey the emotional truth of this story, but I’m sure some of these details are not perfectly accurate. Names and other details have been changed.

In the summer of 1981, my friend Jenny, who lived next door, had a friend from Northern California visit for a couple of weeks.

Her name was Candice, and she went by Candi. She was my first — and biggest — childhood crush. That summer, the Stars On 45 medley was blowing up, and whenever it came on my transistor radio, I’d sing “sugar, ah, honey honey, you are my candy girl” from the deepest well of my little first crush having heart. Listen, do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell? Maybe she would be my candy girl, whatever that meant (holding hands, I was pretty sure). I could sing it right in front of her and she didn’t even know! Delightfully devilish, young Wil.

We were playing in the sprinklers in Jenny’s front yard, when her mom called them in for lunch before they went to the zoo. (The kids next door got to eat all the stuff I wanted: Frosted Flakes, Kool-Aid, Ding Dongs, Otter Pops, everything that was marketed to kids that I wasn’t allowed to have because something something sugar. Here’s some carob. It’s exactly like chocolate, except it’s waxy and flavorless and all kids hate it. Enjoy!) I went home to get something for myself and figure out the rest of my afternoon, until they got back.

So with blades of grass stuck to my feet and legs, my hair smashed down by sweat and water, and this fluttering in my stomach that was new to me, I ran out of the summer heat and into my house. The swamp cooler was doing its best to cool the house down, which left a lot to be desired, if I’m being honest. The kitchen was to my right. The living room was in front of me, and the hallway to our bedrooms and the bathroom was on my left. My dad was in the kitchen sitting at the table with his back to me. He was on the phone with the long cord, and didn’t notice me come in.

It only took a few seconds for me to figure out that he was talking to my uncle, who I thought was the coolest dude on the planet. I inhaled, preparing to ask my dad if I could say hi to him, when I heard that Dad was talking about me.

He was telling my uncle that I had my first crush. And he was making fun of me about it. Behind my back. He was laughing about how I didn’t think anyone knew. He said something about how I was picking my clothes out for the first time, choosing them carefully, brushing my hair, and singing this song over and over. To a normal parent, it would probably be adorable and sweet, but to my dad was a point of shameful weakness to be mocked. He was having a big laugh at my expense, and he was laughing with my favorite uncle.

I was humiliated, embarrassed, and deeply hurt. I felt betrayed. I was instantly aware of my bare chest, wet swimming trunks, skinny legs and arms. I was overwhelmed by shame. I was stupid. I’d been embarrassing myself all summer long in front of everyone, and like the idiot my dad knew I was, I didn’t think anyone knew.

Continue reading… →

days of swine and roses

I get a ton of junk email, like we all do. I have aggressive filtering, like most of us do. But something gets through every day, because reasons.

My personal favorites are the ones that address me as if I am, personally, Barnes & Noble. They frequently offer cleaning and reputational services (for me, Mr. Barnes & Noble), as well as something about putting Google Maps directly into my stores. Good stuff.

Today, something got through, and in those few preview words you can see without opening the email, I read the phrase “Million dollar bacon.”

So I said to Anne, “I mean, million dollar bacon sounds great. But who can afford that?”

“Someone who is living high on the hog,” she replied.

gotta machinehead

I asked Spotify to play me some rock. It’s horrifying how well you know me, I said, but do what you do so well. I may as well make the most of this Faustian bargain.

So Spotify went to work. Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Love and Rockets, Placebo, Eagles of Death Metal, you get it.

Nice work, Spotify. I’m absolutely positive this has no Monkey’s Paw consequences in my future.

Then it gets to Reptillia, by The Strokes, and I realized that the last time I heard this song, I was playing it in Rock Band.

And that just really hit me right in the Old, you know?

I know you’re not going to believe this, but it just started playing 3’s & 7’s. Guess what game I was playing the last time I heard it?

I’m gonna go put my feet up for a minute, while I continue rocking.

Fucking Monkey’s Paw.

the best laid plans

I haven’t had the spoons to write for a few weeks, but today, something was different, and I finished my breakfast with an ambitious, totally realistic plan to do a little work on Project Daffodil.

So I walk into my office, sit down, and realize that my desk is a clusterfuck of notes and magazines and stickers and … batteries? okay, batteries, I guess … and more than enough dust to complete the metaphor.

I stand up, and begin Unfucking my desk. It comes along nicely. I move the pile of New Yorkers I’m totally going to read to the top of the other pile of New Yorkers I’m totally going to read, careful not to disturb the pile of WIREDs I’m absolutely going to read.

I declare magazine bankruptcy; into the recycling they go.

Back to my desk. These sticky notes that fell off my monitor can enjoy their retirement catching up on the New Yorker. And I’ll just pick up this — what the? Okay, who even uses 9 volt batteries and why do I have one on my — oh, the smoke detector. Right. This should have gone into the trash when I put in a new battery on Daylight Saving Time. I glace around, furtively, Commander Hoek with his Beloved Ice Cream Bar. Real quick, before I toss it away, I taste it. Just to be sure.

Hm. These Gym Mats have very little battery zap in them. A surprisingly high number of 90s animation references, though. Into the bin.

I sort the stickers. Most will be added to project Cover This Box With Layer After Layer of Stickers. But one of them victoriously emerges from the rest, as a laptop contender. I place it on the desk where it will be … considered.

That’s when I get a closer look at the dust. I don’t know how thick a single layer of dust is, but this is enough to qualify for a blanket.

PRO TIP FROM UNCLE WIL: Iif you’re super lazy like me and hate dusting, you can put the air filter in your office to maximum, close the door, and use your compressed air thing to blast the dust off your desk, right into the air. The filter will suck it all out and you get to decide if you want that to be a dirty joke or not. This is not recommended for people with allergies. Wearing a mask while you do it is encouraged.

The dust settles. And now my work area is clean and orderly.

Well … except for that cable.


Fucking cables my god why does everything have to be so hard all I wanted was a Pepsi.

But the desk really does look great. In fact, I can feel the creative energy building around me and flowing…

…right into that stack of boxes in the corner, next to the bags of stuff I brought home from cons last year that I was going to sort through right after I got caught up on the New Yorker. It’s kind of pooling there, sloshing up on that Lego set I’ve been hoping to build since the 1900s.

Shit. Okay. I guess we’re doing this. Having unfucked the desk, I now turn my attention to unfucking the entire office.

I make three piles: recycle. trash. keep.

The keep pile is sorted into categories: Presidential Library, Art, Badges, Books, and so on. They will be put away in due time, but I linger on some of them: dice. drawings. notes from people who didn’t trust themselves to remember the words when they met me (I see you SO HARD, friends). And I remember how fun it was before Covid, how hard we’ve tried since Covid to make it fun again, and how much I’m sincerely excited to see my friends, castmates, and fellow nerds again in Austin next month.

I put the keepers away in their various proper places, handle the rest, and look around my freshly unfucked office. Now! I can get to work!

Into the chair. Okay, shake off the cobwebs, open xed and … oh. Wow.

Wow that’s … wow.

My keyboard is so dirty. Like, I need to write myself up for this. How did I not notice this before? Why is that key sticky? Is that cat fur? And is that … is that fucking barbecue sauce down there between the K and the L?

The keys come right off for easy cleaning. I have a little tool and everything.


I’m not going to write a damn thing today, am I?

If not now, when?

In 1960, SAG and WGA struck to force management to adapt to the new technology of television. Without that strike and the agreement it birthed, residual use payments would not exist.

Wil Wheaton and Gates McFadden support SAG-AFTRA and WGA at Paramount Studios

My parents forced me to be a child actor, and stole nearly all of my salary from my entire childhood. My Star Trek residuals were not much, but they were all I had, and they kept me afloat for two decades while I rebuilt my life. I have healthcare and a pension because of my union. The AMPTP billionaires want to take all that security away so they can give CEOs even more grotesque wealth at the expense of the people who make our industry run.

We must now fight for the future of our industry in the face of changing technology, the same way our elders fought for us in 1960.

To give some sense of what is at stake: There are actors who star in massively successful, profitable, critically acclaimed shows that are all on streaming services. You see them all the time. They are famous, A-list celebrities. Nearly all of those actors don’t earn enough to qualify for health insurance, because the studios forced them to accept a buyout for all their residuals (a decade of reuse, at the least) that is less than I earned for one week on TNG. And I was the lowest paid cast member in 1988. They want to do this while studio profits and CEO compensation are at historic highs. Nearly 9 in 10 SAG-AFTRA members does not earn the $26,470 required to qualify for health insurance. Meanwhile, studio executives are pocketing tens of millions of dollars of bonuses and compensation. Each. (CNN: “When Iger rejoined Disney as CEO in November 2022, he agreed to an annual base salary of $1 million with a potential annual bonus of $2 million. The agreement also includes stock awards from Disney totaling $25 million [and] Netflix’s co-CEOs Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters made $50 million and $28 million, respectively, in 2022, according to a company filing.”)

Those billionaire CEOs complain that what we are asking for is unrealistic and unsustainable. They say we — we — are destroying the industry that was so profitable and successful for a century before they arrived.

I realize they want to remodel their third vacation home so they don’t embarrass any of the guests they take there on their yacht. My heart just aches for them as they struggle to keep up with a changing business model. Here’s the thing: if the current business model of the industry only functions when labor allows itself to be exploited so that executives make thousands of times their salaries, that business model should be destroyed.

If workers refusing to be exploited makes a CEO’s bloated salary unsustainable, I think that’s kind of the point.

We in Labor aren’t hurting our industry. We’re fighting to save it from predatory sociopaths who will gleefully watch people lose their homes and go hungry, rather than release 2% of their grotesque wealth to ensure a healthy industry for everyone.

I mean, if not now, when? And I haven’t even touched on AI and working conditions. I’m only talking about the fundamental ability and opportunity to make a living, to survive and hope to thrive, in the entertainment industry.

We must now fight for the future of our industry in the face of changing technology, the same way our elders did for us in 1960. So today, my Spacemom and I went to the place where it started for us, way back when, to do just that.

I see all your support. It means so much. Thank you.