Column Date 2006-08-14

Your name here

It all started in an art museum that shall remain nameless.

Wandering around looking at some of the more peculiar twists modern art has taken (a box full of snakes, spiders and scorpions for example), I noticed a sign on the wall.

It read: “The Anne and George Stein Emergency Exit.”

No joke – that’s what it said. (Those are not their real names.)

At first I thought it was a new exhibit – that modern art had unexpectedly developed an ironic sense of humor. Hallelujah!

But then I realized that the museum, in one of those endless fund drives that arts institutions run these days, had probably sent out a list of things you could put your name on. Where you name goes depends on how much you donate.

I’d guess that putting your name on a whole building probably costs well into seven figures. Naming a museum gallery, six figures. A lounge, five figures. All the way down to a modestly priced Emergency Exit.

This started me thinking: what other things could wealthy supporters put their names on?

I mean, could the museum guard who searches my shoulder bag wear a badge that says “The Myron Shelansky Security Guard”?

Will I walk into a museum rest room and find “The Carole and Derek Hansen EZ-Pull toilet paper roll”? Or “Extra-soft facial tissue courtesy of the Oksner Foundation”?

Will our public radio stations bring us an extra minute of music so we can all enjoy Tiffany O’Connor, 7-year-old granddaughter of Barbara and Colin O’Connor (Platinum Supporters), perform “Doll Dance” by Czerny?

Maybe I’ll even see a plaque on the back of a seat in Radio City Music Hall that says “In memory of Henry Backus who really liked the donkeys in the Christmas Show.”

But then I thought, what about this newspaper column?

Is there somebody out there with a burning desire to see his or her name in a newspaper – more specifically, on top of this column?

So here’s the plan:

If you’d like your name on the top of this newspaper column -- just send me a check today.

Make it out to your favorite charity, and mail it to Peter Tannen, % The Long Island Press, 575 Underhill Blvd (Suite 210), Syosset, NY 11791.

The highest donor wins and gets his or her name in print. The headline will read: “This column brought to you by (YOUR NAME HERE).”

Not only that, but every check we receive will be passed along to the charity it’s made out to – a terrific win-win proposition: your favorite charity gets a donation, you get a tax deduction, and a chance to see your name immortalized in print. (The Long Island Press, in case you didn’t know it, is the 4th largest weekly newspaper in America!)

Deadline: September 15th, 2006. So don’t just sit there -- send in your check today.

This could be your 15 minutes of fame!

©2006 Peter Tannen