Totally Clueless About Names

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - May 12, 2005
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One of the best things about my job is meeting so many new people. One of the worst — is not being able to remember their names. Please understand. It’s not that I think people are boring or insignificant. It’s not because I don’t like you. My memory just isn’t good enough to retain it all.

The other day a man came up to me and said, “Hey, remember me?”

I had no clue at all.

“Yeah, I met you at the Blaisdell, remember? You signed a picture for me!”

Oh. Sorry.

Since I was in grade school I have been using tricks to retain people’s names. Like word association—Mary, rhymes with hairy. Hairy Mary.

I’ve tried repetition. “Nice to meet you, Mary. What do you do for a living,Mary? So, Mary, what do you think of the weather today?”

I envy people who can flawlessly summon, not just a person’s name, but also the names of their spouses, children and family pet. I, on the other hand, am reduced to the lame and generic — “so, how’s the family?’ — in hopes that the person will proceed to rattle off names so that I can pretend to have known them all along.

People who can recall every person they’ve ever met in their entire lives amaze me. Our brilliant assignment editor, Brenda, is one of them. She can name the person, recount the crime and tell you which reporter covered the story, even if it was a decade ago. I, on the other hand, have trouble remembering what I had for lunch yesterday.

All right. I’m not really as bad as all that. I think I’m actually pretty normal. I’m just feeling a bit memory-challenged … and all because of that guy who said we met at the Blaisdell who knows how many years ago. Then it was compounded by the woman pushing a baby carriage I passed on the street yesterday. She stopped and said, “Jade! Hi!” and proceeded to give me a kiss on the cheek. I could not recall ever meeting her before. And I still am puzzling over her name.

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