Ummm … what was your name again?

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By Lee Scott

One of the most uncomfortable situations for many us is attending an event and not being able to remember the names of the people you see. 

You walk into the room and right away someone greets you by your first name and your mind is a blank.

But there is good news! 

Many people are in the same boat. We find ourselves struggling to come up with a person’s name knowing full well we cannot recall it.  

Fortunately, my spouse and I have our “I don’t know their name routine.” (I know other couples have their own method.) If I am chatting with someone and do not introduce him right away, he will put out his hand and introduce himself. This gives the other person a chance to introduce himself while I stand there innocently playing the “Oh, I thought you two had already met” look on my face.  

To complicate the problem of forgetting people’s names, I have added another twist. I assign names. There are so many men and women who remind me of someone else. My girlfriend Donna looks like Jennifer Gray from the old “Dirty Dancing” movie. 

Joanne, my mail carrier, was Jackie to me for a long time until one day when she corrected me. How embarrassing. 

However, I was lucky when it came to my spouse’s name. The first time I saw him, years ago, he was in a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner with a young blonde on his arm. I thought he looked like “Bond. James Bond.” Fortunately, his name is James and the young blonde is long gone.

According to medical websites, some doctors believe we do not remember names because we are so busy during the introduction observing the person’s features, body language and other characteristics that we dismiss the name part. Maybe that is why I am so quick to assign a name. I am too distracted focusing on who they look like and miss hearing their actual name. 

But my favorite assigned name was Alice, whose real name was Maureen. She was a waitress at a restaurant we frequented for many years in Annapolis. She went along with her new name, although it would confuse other customers. Maureen was always “Alice” to us and would serve my spouse a mean martini saying “Bond, James Bond. Shaken, not stirred.”   

Sometimes, you can have fun forgetting someone’s name.