Thursday, December 13, 2012

876. Exactly the Same But Completely Different

My old boss from the high-end kitchen store phones me last week.  “You are coming back to work for Christmas season, right?”  I jump at the opportunity to be back with all my pals and to buy gourmet hot chocolate for 40% off.   

“You betcha,” I say cheerfully, already practicing my best customer-service-friendly voice. 
My first day back is almost like I never left.  Yep, there’s my buddy Stacy selling pans.  Gina is restocking food hall.  Lisa is ringing up customers and bagging their purchases. 

My manager approaches me.  “MOV, we have a few new people I’d like to introduce you to,” she says, gesturing to two men I have never seen before.  “This is Don, and this is Mike.” 
That is when it happens.  My mind permanently reverses their names, as it consistently does when I meet two people at the exact same moment in time. 

Don is 6’5 and African-American.  He is gorgeous and looks like a basketball player or a bouncer at a really chic club. 
Mike weighs 300 pounds and is bald.  He is approaching retirement age.  His orange tie has a coffee stain on it. 

“Nice to meet you,” I say.  Don and Mike Don and Mike Don and Mike.  Which is which? 
I force myself to make up a mnemonic device to remember who is who.  Debonair Don and Mediocre Mike.  Well, that is not very nice.  Debonair Don and Mere Mortal Mike.  Wait—or is it Dowdy Don and Magnificent Mike? 

I do what I always do in a situation like this:  fake my way thru it. 
“Hi Don and Mike!” I enthuse anytime I see them standing near each other, or thank God, chatting with one another.  If one wanders off to help a customer, though, I am ruined. 

“I keep confusing Don and Mike,” I confide to Lisa later when we are between customers at the cash register. 
She laughs heartily.  “Don and Mike?!  Are you kidding me?  There could not be two more different people.”  She shakes her head, thinking I am joking. 

“No, seriously, I met them at the same time.  Now I can’t tell which is which.” 
“MOV, come on.  They look nothing alike.”

“That’s doesn't matter:  I met them at the same time,” I repeat this little fact as if it should explain everything and earn me some major compassion points.  Oh, she met them at the same time!  Of course!
“Then just do what I do:  look at their nametags.” 

I am suddenly grateful that the high-end kitchen store requires all employees to wear nametags.    
Don/Mike walks over to me to ask a question about coffee makers.  I glance at his apron where his nametag should be.  I am stymied by its absence.  He notices I am staring.  

“What’s wrong, MOV?” he inquires, making me feel instantly terrible since he remembered my name. 
“You forgot your nametag!” I blurt out.  Then, fumbling to save the situation, I hastily add, “Corporate requires it.”     

“Oh, I know.  The manager ordered one for me, I’ll have it next week.”  He smiles wide, revealing his beautiful Don/Mike teeth. 
I’m hopeless.  I resign myself to the fact that I will be stuck calling him “Hey You” in the break room for another week or possibly eternity if his nametag gets lost in the mail. 

Well, at least I know everyone else’s name.  “Nice job with food hall, Gina!” I love sharing compliments with my good friends. 
Gina turns around and scowls at me.  “MOV, how many times do I have to tell you my name is Stacy?” 



  1. I can't remember names any more. At. All. And I used to have a great memory. My first fiancee? His father's middle name was Norman. And that $hit was in 1979. But people I met yesterday? Not happenin'.
    I used to have an IQ of 143. It is now hovering somewhere in the 80s. I would say "kill me now," but there are folks who are waiting for me to say that.

    1. All of me is hovering in the 80s, including my taste in music.

      You say it like it is a bad thing.

  2. Replies
    1. thank you! anytime "ha ha" starts with a "Ba", I know it is sincere. Much better than LOL.

    2. Haha always sounded kind of insincere like that bully on The Simpsons who always laughed with "Ha Ha". Mine is a more of uncontrolled laughing to the point of milk squirting out of my nose. Bahahaha!! Lol... I love your humor.

  3. Names, names. Why do you torment me so?

    1. so glad I am not the only one, Pauline! er, Paulette. wait-- Paula?

  4. Lol! What's even worse is when you let it go so long and then you find yourself having to introduce them to someone. Been there...ain't pretty.
    Blessings, Joanne

    1. I actually introduced my husband one time as.......
      "Uhm, my husband ..." (long silence)
      He jumped in with "TIM! My name is TIM! Remember me?"

      still reminds me of this episode.........

  5. I had a Don/Mike situation and thank god they were at different companies. I just called them Don/Mike, of course explaining how I could not remember their names. They were pretty good natured about it considering. And mine were black and white too.

    1. Nola, I think we are the same person. MOV/Nola.

  6. I am horrible with names. It's not so much that I forget people's names it's that when I first meet someone my brain is too busy judging them to hear their name. Then 15 seconds later I'm aware that I didn't listen at all when they told me their name and I'm screwed. I blame my brain.

    1. You need to stop writing comments that are funnier than my blog. You are giving me a complex called "My- Readers-Have-Funnier-Comments-Than-My-Blog" (it is a very specific complex). Next thing you know, readers will be clicking over there to your blog, saying "Who the heck was that MOV-whatsername? Who cares! Christian is hilarious!!!!"

      You are ruining me. But kinda in a good way. Now the pressure is off to be funny all the time. Whew. I am simultaneously mad at you and grateful.

      And I'll bet if I met you and your co-writer Pat in person at the same time, I would have another Don/Mike moment.



  7. I had that problem with twins in our neighborhood...who looked nothing alike! Luckily one ended up in my daughter's class, so I "remet" him with one name! Yippee for discounted high end stuff by the way!

  8. Names are tricky. Luckily, my kids are used to me messing them up. It could be worse. My sister once called her current husband by her former husband's name during a very personal moment. yikes!

  9. I am so bad with names. I always get into a panic and my memory gets worse! So glad I am not the only one!

  10. I never remember the names of the other parents I meet at the school. For whatever reason, I cannot do it, and it's not like they're all Sarahs and Sues... They've got lovely exotic names that I can't remember, but do know that I thought they were lovely and exotic. I solve it by just not talking to them unless they're close enough that I don't have to call out. Or mumbling incoherently and pretending my mouth was full.

  11. Hope you get it figured out soon before the end of the season! I used to be great with names but the older I get, the names go in one ear and out the other way too quickly. I think everyone should be required to wear name tags, no matter employed or not!


  12. And how many times do I have to tell you my name is TRACIE!

  13. "Corporate requires it" made me laugh really hard for some reason.

    This happens all the time to me at work, with coworkers as well as regular players. It is quite scary when I try to use their names, and the name often comes out with a question mark.


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