Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hey There, Err... Uh... Hey Buddy!

I admit it. I am terrible at names. When introduced to someone, I am more interested in gathering as much imaginary information about that person by studying them, than by actual factual material, like his/her name. So in other words, you may be introduced to me as Queen Elizabeth from England, but I won't remember that. Instead, I will be trying to figure out why you are wearing that crown.

I try to remember names, but rarely do. When meeting someone new, you usually begin by telling me your name. It would be better to begin by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance first, then tell me your name. By that point, I will be mentally prepared to register that information, because I will have already figured out (in my own mind) at least part of your personal story.

I've tried all the usual tips and tricks. Here are my issues with the tricks:
  1. Be interested. I am interested. I am interested in where you come from, your family, why you are wearing those clothes, and if you like me or not. I am not so much interested in your name. Unless it is also my name, in which case I won't forget it.
  2. Verify it. I would be glad to, but I didn't hear it the first time and I'm too embarrassed to ask you again. I'm also a little nervous that if I heard it, I heard it wrong. Melissa/Melinda, Sandy/Randy, Betty/Betsy, Bob/Christopher - they all sound similar to me.
  3. Picture it written on their foreheads. In what font? All caps? What about color? And is this less embarrassing that looking at some other part of this person's body? About the only way this will work is if I physically write it myself on your forehead, and that may be just a little awkward.
  4. Imagine writing the name. I did. On your forehead. If I start waving my arm in the air, I don't think you're going to stick around much longer, in which case your name is no longer needed.
  5. Use word association. Not going to work. If I associate your name with my cat who had the same name, then the next time I meet you, I'm going to have to remember which cat had the same name as you. The liability is that the only cat's name I will probably remember is Sacajawea, and I'm thinking that's not going to be your name. Trying to associate your name with something, then remembering that association is just way too much drama.
  6. Use it frequently. I would. If only I could remember it.
  7. Record the name in a "new contacts" file. Perfect. I will just carry around my laptop and/or address book (if I can find it). Now all you have to do is wait while I retrieve the information, which may require trial and error. If I'm going to carry around writing materials, then I think the magic marker on your forehead will be a lot easier.
Anyhow, I just wanted to confess one of my shortcomings, should we meet. Don't be alarmed if I start staring at your forehead (not looking for Botox) or start writing in the air (not writing an imaginary letter to my imaginary friend). But you may want to run to the nearest exit if I pull out my magic marker.

And don't be offended if I don't remember your name - I do it to everyone. Just ask Whathisname, Whosis, and That One. I named them as soon as they were born and don't remember their names most of the time!

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