Names

“Say my name, say my name…” – Destiny’s Child

“I don’t know it.”
– Me

I can’t remember people’s names and it makes me feel like an asshole. And it’s not because I’m worried people will think I don’t care about them — because I don’t. That’s no secret. It’s for practical reasons — like when I’m sitting next to someone and I need them to ‘pass me that thing over there.’ If I knew their name I wouldn’t have to stare at them for four straight minutes like a psychopath until they finally look up at me. “Can I borrow a pen?”

When I run into someone on the street whose name I can’t remember, I don’t listen to a goddamn word they say. I just stare at their heads for the entire conversation and run through the alphabet. Fuck the alphabet.

What I really love is when I’m talking to one person whose name I don’t know and another person whose name I don’t know comes over to say hi. So happy to see you! And now I’m like fuckin Friendster and I’m supposed to introduce these idiots.

I usually just say, “HEY! You know…” and then HOPE TO GOD one of them will cut me off before I finish speaking and fill in the blank with their name. Then I act surprised, apologize and pretend that I thought they knew each other even though we all know I’m completely full of shit.

But this time that didn’t happen. Instead, after about three beats of intense awkward silence, I had to finish my sentence. So I just made up a name. I went with “An-ge-la.”

She goes, “Who the FUCK is Angela? I’m Michelle. And why the fuck are you introducing me to the guy I live with? He’s my boyfriend, you idiot.”

I wish people wore name tags. Would that be so bad? The janitors do it and they’re the dumbest people on the planet. People are more responsive when you know their names. Instead of saying, “Hey, YOU, get on your goddamn hands and knees and clean up that puke right now.” The principal can say, “Carl, get on your goddamn hands and knees…etc.” What do you think Carl is more likely to respond to? If you said both, you’re right because Carl’s not gonna risk violating his parole again with another one of his angry outbursts. He knows if he does he’s going right back to the hole.

I like the people who have the balls to call you on it:

“Whatup, Steve? You remember me?”
“Yeah. (lie) Of I course I do!”
“What’s my name?”

Motherfucker. I have no idea. I had no other choice but to use my secret weapon – ‘reverse psychology’ – people used to use it on me all the time when I was one.

“Hey everyone, this guy doesn’t know his own name!”
“Haha, funny – what’s my name?”

Seriously? Why are you doing this to me? Please stop. But at the same time, why can’t I just get myself to admit that I don’t know it? If I could do that this would all be over. BUT I CAN’T! Finally he told me. So I go, “I know, dude.” Another lie.

The best feeling in the world though is KNOWING someone’s name. When I know someone’s name I use the shit out of it. “Hey JAY! How’s it going JAY? This is Jay everybody! Oh, JAY that’s a funny story. Do you know Jay? Jay, Jay, Jay!”

But that doesn’t happen very often. There are so many places I go to on a regular basis where I should know people’s names but definitely don’t. I’ve been going to the same gym for years and – even though I’ve talked to tons of people – I don’t know anyone. Now I wear headphones from the moment I get out of my car to the moment I get back in it. I’m constantly wearing headphones. Even when my ipod’s dead. I listen to nothing. And if somebody starts walking towards me I bob my head like I’m jamming out. Jamming out to nothing. Sometimes people come up to me to tell that my headphones aren’t connected to anything – and then they show me the cord. I usually have no response to that.

I go to the same Starbucks everyday. The girl who works at the counter always remembers my name (which makes me feel good – like I’m the president of my own company) but I have no clue what her name is (which makes her feel bad – like she works at Starbucks). I’ve never even bothered to ask her. I guess it’s because she’s just a stupid machine to me.

There’s a woman that’s been living above me for over two years who’s super loud. It sounds like she has hooves. She’s like a Minotaur or something. She loves to dance and blow on that wood flute thing while she weaves wild tales about Dionysus or whatever. Anyway about once a week when she gets too loud I bang my broomstick against the ceiling and shout, “SHUT THE FUCK UP MINOTAUR!” And she does. The following morning we’ll say ‘hello’ to each other as if nothing ever happened. I wish I knew her name. Minotaur is such a long word to shout.

Does anybody know who my mailman is? How about my dry cleaner whose been scrubbing the cum stains off my pants for the last 5 years?

So what do we do, other than study Facebook everyday before you leave the house? I’m glad you asked. I’ve developed a foolproof way to figure out someone’s name no matter where you are.

As the person you don’t remember approaches you call your best friend. Once the person gets there just hand them your phone. Chances are your best friend on the phone will be like, “Who the hell is this?” and the person standing in front of you will answer, “Naaaame…who’s this?” They won’t know each other so at that point ‘Name’ will just hand you back your phone. NOTE: If you forget ‘Name’s’ name from the time ‘Name’ says it to the time ‘Name’ hands you back the phone just call somebody else.

DISCLAIMER: Due to the nature of this story all characters in it will remain nameless at the present time.

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