NEW CASTLE — I suppose I must admit that I have acquired another hobby. It's not as though I was sitting and staring at the walls and drooling in utter boredom. This new activity, much like many of the endeavors in my life, was more of an I-can-do-this scenario than anything else.
A friend of mine had been involved in getting celebrity autographs by mail for the last few months. He had done it long ago and lost interest after acquiring hundreds upon hundreds of signed photos. He had recently picked it back up. I got to see the great responses he was receiving, and I was immediately hooked.
It's a simple task. You send a picture or two through the mail to a famous person and hope they take the time and energy to reply. But, the thrill is in the hunt. Without giving away too many secrets of the craft, you must first find that elusive address for the desired celebrity. Sometimes it's an office or a publicist or even a production company. Sometimes, with traveling artists like comedians or bands, you can get lucky sending a package to them at a venue they are scheduled to play. The employee of the venue hand delivers it to the person, because they don’t know if it is some fan wanting an autograph or some important papers about the show.
You also have to have some good, high quality photos to send along with your well-crafted letter. I always hand write a note to give it a personal feel and tell them, in a short and sweet message, how much I loved their work in such and such film or TV show.
Then you wait and wait some more, letting the anticipation grow.
The first response I received was a quite rewarding one. It was from George W. Bush. Putting all politics aside, it felt pretty cool to get a signed picture back from one of the most recognizable people on the planet, a person who is in our history books and will forever be part of the story of our nation and this planet.
My second great success was from none other than Ben Roethlisberger. I had sent him three really amazing photos of himself. I really didn't expect to get anything back from him. I had heard that he doesn’t sign things through the mail and if he is sent a request, they send out a mass-produced pre-printed photo.
I was ecstatic the day that I got the package back from Ben and saw that he had signed all three pictures for me. That made for a nice kick to my birthday, since I received the package from him on my birthday.
I had several other successes, including former president, Jimmy Carter, and an in-person success with the hilarious comedian Harland Williams.
Needless to say, such an overwhelming success in my first round only helped to feed the compulsion to build a collection. I have sent out lots more, including most of the cast of “The Walking Dead,” Steeler Brett Keisel, Alan Alda, Pauly Shore, Drew Carey, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen, the list goes on and on.
Every day I check the mail box with anticipation and hope. The amount of responses I have keeps growing due to the amount of packages I have in the pipeline. However I think I will soon be part-owner in the United States Post Office because of the amount of postage I have purchased in the last few months.