If I Become Famous

It is possible that I will become utterly and fabulously super famous in the future and you, being the kind of person who feels compelled to explore such places, will visit my childhood home. Let me explain a few of things that you might see; the little details that might satisfy your flattering interest in discovering me.

If I become famous for being a historian, notice the torn pages of Smithsonian Magazine tapped throughout my bedroom. Beside my bed is a mosaic of Alexander the Great, a map of the extent of his kingdom, and an explanation of why he died. I meant to take this down, but was afraid the Scotch tape would tear the paint. Ahead of him was a story on Lahore, Pakistan; its changing demographics, the tension of religiosity and modernity. Ask your tour guide if I ever visited the city. If I did, they might make some sort of connection between my seemingly random interest in a Pakistani city as a metaphor for my secular life. This might not explain why I’m famous, but it does explain my nerdy fondness for my high school, the Academy of American Studies.

My bedroom walls were painted yellow. This minor detail might escape your consciousness. Thankfully, your tour guide, being the kind of person who loves wowing her audience with empty nuggets of hindsight psychology, will explain her belief that painting a child’s room yellow makes a child stubborn. This might not explain why I’m famous, but it does explain any of my public meltdowns that you read about in the tabloids while waiting on a grocery store checkout line.

If I become a famous pianist, you will have to fight an urge to play the piano in the corner of the house’s living room. It is upright. Brown. Adequately ordinary. Your tour guide, who has repeatedly proved to be obsessed with the chemicals on your less-than-worthy hands, will forbid you from touching it, given the value that my fame has given it. But I will allow it. Please play. You will notice the broken D note two scales below Middle C. This will explain why all my best songs were written in E Major. This piano might not explain how I became famous, but it does explain any success I had with women in college.

If I become a well-known music critic, do not look to discover my love of music by wasting time visiting the basement and banging away at Shannon, my drum kit. Do not browse through my Windows Media Player library to decipher the songs I judged five-star worthy. Definitely do not watch the amateur video of my cover of Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” while playing bongos at my high school talent show. Instead, go into the kitchen. It is there I found my love for the album. Because we didn’t have a dishwasher, there was nothing to do while washing but to listen to music. Because of my soapy hands, I was too scared to skip tracks, for fear I’d ruin the electronic Boombox. Not having a dishwasher might not show you why I became famous, but it might explain my love for and future obsession with buying used CDs from Amazon and listening to each one from start to finish.

Additionally, don’t be distracted by the LEGO blocks in the corner, the failed attempt at keeping a journal from middle school, or the pictures of the first woman who broke my heart from summer camp. They explain nothing.

If you reach the end of your tour unsatisfied and are unsure of how I ever became famous in the first place, my only response would be to ponder the streetlight outside of my bedroom window. Its light, reflecting against my room’s yellow walls, gave me just enough for completing late-night homework assignments, rereading magazine ledes, and switching the radio dial. This explains everything.

As you leave, please thank your tour guide. They were interns. Most likely unpaid. If they become famous too, remember this: they had inspiration. TC Mark

image – Gaby Dunn

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