Thursday, October 30, 2003

Who are you, again? 

My earlier post about probably having a difficult time remembering the baby's name makes me think I should comment about names. I am terrible with names. It takes me a while to remember them. Sometimes I'm even forced to create association games in my head so I'll remember the right names for certain people.

I've conditioned myself to pause and think before I say someone's name, but every once in a while, I'll blurt out the wrong thing. It's pretty embarrassing.

My most difficult time with names came from my marriage. In high school, for about a year and a half, I dated a girl named "Jennifer." Then in college, for about three years, I dated a girl named "Theresa." I'd been so used to my girlfriend's name being "Jennifer," though, that I would often almost  say her name when talking to Theresa. Not wanting to get my ass beat, however, I trained myself to think, every time I said her name, "not Jennifer — Theresa." The problem came years later when I was married. My ex-wife was also named Jennifer (though not the same Jennifer as before — to this day, my mother refers to the Jennifer I dated in high school as "the real Jennifer"), and my conditioning stuck. I'd be about to (correctly) say "Jennifer," but in my head I'd still think, "not Jennifer — Theresa." Then I'd have to remember, "no, this is  Jennifer. It always took me a couple of seconds for me to get her name out. Very frustrating.

Luckily, I have not had this problem with Misty. Her name is different enough that it's been easy for me to remember. With other people, though, it still takes me a moment to think — and even then I may not remember. Someone will say, "good morning, Matt," and I'll simply reply, "good morning" because I can't think of their name quickly enough. It happens with my co-workers whom I see every day and even my best friends. So please don't feel hurt if it happens when I talk to you. I'm lucky that I remember my own name.