Sunday, October 9, 2016

When Perry Doesn't Know Your Name

Excuse me if I've forgotten your name.

I'm terrible with names.

Always have been.  And it's been quite a challenge going through life referring to co-workers, friends, and the women I've been married to as "Hey, you!"   

When I meet a new person I'm always hoping to make a good impression. I plump up my hair, wipe the crud off the corners of my mouth, and desperately strive for a rakish smile instead of my normal goofy one.

And then I say "Hi, my name is Perry Block, nice to meet you."

And the other person says "Hello, happy to meet you too. I’m Blabble Blabble."

The problem is I have so focused my attention on not coming off like an idiot that I have completely missed the critical Official Presentation of my new acquaintance's name. 

Thereafter I am terrified to encounter this person. Should I spot them in public, I dart across the street, hide behind a mailbox, or move to Australia.

If I can’t avoid talking with them, I produce a muttered greeting and rapidly excuse myself as being late for yoga, which I only started this year but have been using as my all-purpose excuse since 1974.

Sometimes I catch a break.  The person I’ve just met is one of those folks who loves to tell long stories and pepper them from start to finish with rampant over usage of their own name:

“So Ralph says to me ‘Joan, I have a question.  Joan, what would you do about this?  Joan, how would you handle it? I’m counting on you, Joan.  Joan … Joan … Joan! Guess what, Joan? I forgot my question!”

After this level of overkill I’m not sure if I should call this person “Joan” or “Annoying Narcissist from Hell.”

Several weeks ago at a cousin’s Bar Mitzvah I was introduced to a woman in the receiving line. Two minutes later I realized that I had forgotten her name. 

An hour later I saw her at the bar.

Should I just ask her name?  But then she’ll know I wasn’t paying attention when we first met.

What if she throws a drink in my face? 

What if it’s scotch and I’ve been drinking gin all afternoon?

“Hello again,” I said.

“Oh, hi!" she said brightly. "I was just trying to remember your name.”

It’s Perry,” I replied, totally relieved and doing a quick double-check of my hair, mouth, and smile.

“Sure, Perry! Nice to see you again.  I’m Blabble Blabble.”

Oh crap.

Did it again.



Dawn said...

Focus Perry. Focus! lol

Perry Block said...

Your name is ... Fawn?

Russell said...

I don't normally offer useful advice, especially to someone who won't remember it two seconds after he reads this comment, but here it is anyway.

When someone introduces themselves to you, such as Joanne Heartbreaker, use their name back to them in a sentence. "Hello, Joanne Heartbreaker, it's a pleasure to meet you. Then, mentally visualize typing her name on a keyboard.

So what if you accidently call her Jeanne Homewrecker the next time you meet, at least you were close and she'll be happy to correct you with a swift kick in the nuts.

Maybe I'll start an advice column. How does "Ask an Asshole" sound?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Barry, everyone has that problem. Remember?
Now let's go back to the asylum, ok?

Perry Block said...

When have I ever not gotten a kick in my nuts? Often by myself. I don't like the name "Ask an Asshole," however, because what does that make me when I invariably take your advice? And I'll always take it!

Perry Block said...

Yeah, Barry will go back with you. I'm Percy and I'm staying here!

Unknown said...

Funny. I never forget a name but I might forget if I know you from yoga or from your lady part's exam. Actually I would remember if a guy has lady parts. Ok, I'm gonna stop typing now Berry.

Perry Block said...

Don't you dare grab me by my lady's parts! I'm not that kind of girl.