As a voice for the unheard, a seer for the unseen, a lightning rod for those without electricity or other forms of power, I receive a lot of letters and emails from those whose views are underrepresented in the media and pop cultural at large. I feel both joyous pleasure and a heavy responsibility as I page through these myriad fan letters, their authors pleading for my help.
Usually I laugh and delete these amusing cries for succor after I’ve finished reading them, but today, today one stood out as worthy of my attention and, less importantly, of course, yours.
I now present to you this important missive, raw and unedited except for the parts I disagree with, which have been omitted.
Mr. Wheaton, I am not writing to you as the local chapter head of the Paper and Parchment Collators Union Local 420, though that ought to be reason enough.
I am not writing to you as a passionate paper collator, a lover of that art form who studied its precise movements under his father, who, in turn, studied the practice under his father.
I am not writing to you as a professional who attended three years of collation trade school.
I am writing to you as a husband and father, as a man who has mouths to feed:
Please, stop collating paper yourself and leave it to the professionals.
Sure, you Hollywood types think it’s ‘fun’ and ‘gritty’ to jump down in the trenches and get your hands dirty. But what you fail to realize is that when you, as an amateur, collate paper for a photo-op or to help out a blogger, you not only are taking that job away from a licensed collator who needs the money, especially in this economy, but you’re also propagating a terrible myth, a myth my fellow collators and I have spent years combating, have shed blood and tears trying to dislodge from the American psyche.
What myth is that?
That you don’t need years of schooling, you don’t need to work as an apprentice under a seasoned master for decades, to be an adept paper collator.
Have you no sense of decency? Of honor? Or, failing that, of simple social justice?
When you posed for that thoughtless picture, you told the world that anyone who spent a couple of years ‘slumming’ it at Juilliard or some other ‘acting’ school can collate paper.
You told the world, “No, you don’t need to pay top dollar to an expert to get your paper collated correctly. Just go down to the nearest casting session at a studio to collect one of the rejects, or, if you must, call a temp agency.”
You committed the sin of implying that collating paper is easy.
Is your family warm at night? Are you all well-sated when you all leave your table at Cafe La Boheme? Are you able to wear the latest in sturdy, comfortably clothing?
For my family, the answer to all those questions is “No!”
My wife and I shiver at night in the cold because I can’t afford to heat my home.I assume my children shiver too, but since our house is too small for my family, they sleep out back with the dogs, who thus far have kept them warm enough to survive.
My children cry for more at dinner because Cafe La Boheme only has so many leftovers to hand out after they close each night, and it isn’t enough for a family of four. Who also have three dogs to feed.
Our clothes are the most disgustingly two-seasons-out-of-date styles, which regularly results in my young children being beaten on the playground.
By their teachers.
Mr. Wheaton. I can’t tell you the number of jobs I failed to get where the hiring manager clapped me apologetically on the shoulder and said, “I’m really sorry, but we looked into it, and even Wil Wheaton is cheaper than you are. If we can’t get him, we’ll call you.”
They haven’t called me, Mr. Wheaton. Which means not only are you destroying the reputation of paper collators world-wide, but you’re also a union-busting scab.
For the love of all that is good and sweet in this world, please, Mr. Wheaton, stop collating paper!
And now, a word from our sponsor: me!