Some people want to be the President of the United States when they grow up. Some want to win a Nobel Prize. Some want to win a Super Bowl or a World Series. But not me. When I grow up, I want to be a MacArthur Fellow.

Every year, the MacArthur Foundation chooses a class of MacArthur Fellows, who each receive a stipend (currently set at $625,000 and paid out over five years) to do with as they please. These “genius grants” are typically a complete surprise to the chosen Fellows, who are “selected through a rigorous process involving thousands of expert and anonymous nominators, evaluators, and selectors.”

For me, it’s not about the money. OK, it’s not entirely about the money. Instead, it’s mostly about someone affirming my long-held and deeply-misguided belief that I am secretly a genius. Sure, I’ve never done or said (or written) anything particularly brilliant, but I think that I could, if only the MacArthur Foundation would officially designate me a “genius” and stroke me a large check. Plus (and this is a very important part of my plan), if I were to be designated a “genius” by the MacArthur Foundation, then people would have to listen to what I say and, more importantly, agree with it, because I am a genius.

The 2014 class of MacArthur Fellows is announced in September. Fingers crossed.

The thing about this dream is that it sort of came true. For someone else. In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez recorded two albums, Cold Fact in 1970 and Coming from Reality in 1971. Released under the name Rodriguez, the albums hardly sold at all. In the United States. However, by the mid-1970s, Rodriguez became hugely popular in South Africa, with fans there comparing his music to Bob Dylan. Rodriguez was more popular in South Africa than Elvis, and his album was an essential part of every South African record collection, along with Abbey Road. South Africans pored over his lyrics and got tattoos of his album covers.

But the thing is, Rodriguez knew nothing about it. Rodriguez’s label dropped him after his albums failed in America, and he spent the next 25 years as a day laborer in Detroit.

Rodriguez’s story is told very well in the 2012 documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” which won an Academy Award. (The director of the documentary, Malik Bendjelloul, recently passed away.) “Searching for Sugar Man” traces the steps by which a group of South African fans finally tracked down Rodriguez in the late 1990s and revealed his secret identity to him. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

If I were Rodriguez, my reaction upon hearing about my fame would have been to run through the streets of Detroit, yelling “I told you so” to everyone who doubted me and especially to the label that dropped me. But Rodriguez doesn’t do that. Instead, he accepts the news with grace, assumes his rock-star mantle, and, clothed in his new identity, plays a series of sold-out shows to a grateful South African audience.

It’s a reminder that, one day, our own failures will be redeemed, when we stand before an audience, clothed in our perfect identity, and welcomed as beloved children. If not as geniuses.