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.”
Did it again.