The Acklen Post Office has a wall of fame. Where most post offices used to put up wanted posters—or so I’ve heard, or rather read, since a wanted poster in a post office was once a key plot point in an Encyclopedia Brown story—they put up headshots of notable visitors. As the hub of country music and a major recording center Nashville certainly draws a number of celebrities, and if there’s one thing famous people love to do it’s buy stamps. And if you’re ever waiting in line to buy your own stamps and not in the presence of a live celebrity you can peruse the names and faces of those who’ve come before, people like…
The truth is I don’t recognize most of the people whose headshots grace the walls of the Acklen P.O. A few might be on the D-list but the rest don’t even make the list. Some are has-beens but most are never-weres. If they’ve paid their dues they deserve a refund.
I’m not trying to be too snarky because I believe most, if not all, have done something to deserve their spot on the wall. They may not be known to me but they were, and maybe still are, wanted somewhere, and their only crime is that they fell short but still tried. And it’s not as though I’ve accomplished anything. It’s not as though I’ve earned my spot on the wall.
Maybe I could, though. Just between us it goes through my mind every time I’m in the Acklen post office. What if all I have to do is have a few glossy headshots made?
And I’ll just carry them in and maybe buy a few stamps and hand one over. To make it really easy for them I’ll even bring in my own marker and autograph it for them, and maybe add a personal message: “Stay cool and don’t take any wooden stamps.”
The important thing is I won’t ask because asking, “Am I famous enough for you to hang up one of these?” would give away the gig. If you have to ask if you’re well-known then you don’t have to ask. Also one of the keys to success, or so I’ve heard from people who I assume aren’t locked out, is projecting confidence. As my kindergarten teacher used to tell us, if you dream big, work hard, and believe in yourself there’s a small chance you’ll find happiness and won’t end up sneaking off to the teachers’ lounge at naptime to pour cheap brandy in your coffee. It could be the start of something big. It could prompt me to really accomplish something. At the very least people might start to recognize me. They’ll stop me on the street and say, “Hey, aren’t you…um…do I know you from somewhere?”
And I’ll smile and nod and say, “No, I’m the other one.”