(Note: This past week I read a bio of a ‘famous’ person which had a line that this person was listed in Who’s Who. Is there still a Who’s Who? Either way, it reminded me of this, which was written in 2003)
I’ve finally made it, as they say in Hollywood.
This week I was “notified” by mail for “possible biographical entry” in the 2004-2005 edition of Who’s Who.
Not just any “notification.” But a “National Register’s Who’s Who Executive Invitation.”
Now I can find all my old high school teachers and administrators and wave this letter in their faces and say “HA! Look at me! I’m important!”
I just don’t know what took them so long to find me.
They even gave me a special identification number should I wish to register online.
I did and was breathlessly awaiting my acceptance, figuring it might take awhile, what with all the FBI background checks they would surely have to do on me.
Well, it took just 24 hours for the phone to ring.
It was a well-spoken female representative of Who’s Who who, uh, who right away had great praise for me.
“Why, you wonderful, handsome intelligent man this is soooooo exciting, isn’t it?”
“Uh, yeah. Sure is.”
“And you must be so proud. Now, let me first explain what this is all about, though I’m sure someone of your intelligence is familiar with National Register,” she said.
“Yup,” I said.
She went on to explain the significance of this “invitation.”
I was smiling the whole time, knowing the punchline.
She continued and continued, mentioning all the benefits of my inclusion in the book.
I’ll have wonderful “business and executive contacts,’’ ones I won’t be able to find in just any old phone book or library.
“And we don’t use your name or phone number for mailing lists. Only members have access to it,” she said.
Then she began asking me about my work, what I do, and “what makes you more special than others in your profession?’’
“Well, I’m brilliant,” I said. Really. With a straight face.
“And that’s why we’re inviting you to join the National Registry,’’ she said.
Then I laughed. She thought she had me hooked. My head was swelling, she thought.
“He actually is buying this load,” she was thinking.
“Now, Scott, let me tell you about the two programs we’re offering with this special invitation.”
One, she said, is a “PREMIER EXECUTIVE PROGRAM”
I get the book, access to the Web site, and “THREE wall plaques.”
“Wow. Three?” I said.
“Yes. They are on cherry wood and laser engraved.”
I also get my photograph and a Daily News logo next to my biography.
“And you will receive 10 press releases you can distribute to the media of your choice to announce your inclusion,” she said.
I didn’t respond, knowing what was coming next.
“The premier package is $779.50,” she said, matter-of-factly.
She went on, quick as can be but with obviously less enthusiasm.
“And we have the standard package.” She sounded as if she was talking about a skin disease.
“You get the book and access to the Web site but you ONLY get one wall plaque and no photo or logo,’’ she said, sounding as though anyone who would accept such mediocrity is not worth her time.
“But we still will send you 10 press releasesandthatis$559.80,’’ she ran her words together. “So which package would you like?”
“Well, I’ll have to ask my boss because I won’t pay for something like that,” I said.
“Well, let me ask you. If you were going to spend the money, would you?” she asked.
“No,’’ I said. “Well, if I was really rich I might.’’
“We do have options,” she said. By now her tone was one of disgust. “You can have just the plaque for $249.90 or just the book for $299.90. You have to decide now.”
“No thanks,’’ I said. “That’s way too much”
“Thank you. Goodbye,” she said.
Now I’ll never know if I really made it.
Scott DeSmit is a general assignment reporter for The Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com.