Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Name Game

A mom at my son’s school introduced herself to me recently. After talking, we discovered we had a lot in common. We even made a play date and exchanged cell phone numbers. Of course, I will never call her because I can’t remember her name.

Was it Mary, Margaret, Millie, or maybe Jane? I truly have no idea. I’ll admit it; I’m not good with names.

Yes, I know there are mnemonic devices out there to help me remember. I know that I’m supposed to repeat the person’s name several times during the conversation to make it stick. I’ve tried and still get it wrong.

It’s very embarrassing, especially when it’s someone I’ve known for a while. I hate to say, “Excuse me, I know we’ve been meeting every Friday at the park for a year, so the kids can play, but what is your name again?”

Men have it easy. They can just refer to one another as buddy, man, dude or coach. Heck, they can even call each other derogatory names and still be friends.

In fact, my husband doesn’t even try to remember names. This makes it very difficult for me to gossip—especially when it’s a juicy tidbit that I can’t tell my girlfriends because (a) the gossip is too good to wait, (b) I don’t want them to think I’m a gossip, and, (c), most commonly, the gossip is about them.

A recent conversation with my husband went something like this:

“You will not believe what I heard Elizabeth Jones say when she came into Paper City today.”

“What’s Paper City?”

“It’s a shop downtown. That’s not the point. You remember Elizabeth Jones, don’t you?”

Blank look.

“Elizabeth Jones, married to Roger, works at the bank. We’ve known them for ten years. Their son and our daughter have been friends since elementary school. Remember we had cocktails at their house a few years ago?”


“E-LIZ-A-BETH JO-NESSS,” I say slowly and very loudly, hoping it will jar his memory.

“Never heard of her.”

Really, he takes all the fun out of gossiping.

By the way, Elizabeth Jones is a fictional name. I would tell you her real one, but I have long since forgotten it.

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