Jason Wright: If I forget your name, it's not personal, it's amnesia

We are such a fan of Jason Ashley Wright's work. This is a particularly fun post. Plus we scored a mention! 


I have an embarrassing form of social-related amnesia.

The best example — and, perhaps, worst — happened a few years ago when Mom and Dad drove up for a weekend visit. We were having breakfast outside at Wild Fork when the marvelous Minshall sisters came ’round the corner.

Now, you’d think I may have momentarily forgotten the names of Bonnie and Melissa, as I had only known them a decade vs. the 30-plus years I’ve known the nice people who conceived me and paid my college tuition.

And you would be wrong.

“This is … uh … my parents … um … James and Elouise,” I fumbled.

If you’re a speed-reader, you can’t grasp how long that sentence actually took to fall out of my mouth.

Thankfully, my parents know I’m an odd form of introvert. Still, I’m terrified at the frequency such incidents happen and have been trying to come up with ways to better remember people’s names — especially now that my recent job change will thrust me into nameswapping situations on a mortifyingly regular basis.

‘Your face is familiar’

I have no idea why I react the way I do. As a teenager, my face would flush and my eyes would water when I tried looking people in the eye. That’s passed, but I’ve been temporarily drawing blanks on people’s names when I run into them since college.

Most of the ideas I’ve thought of to combat the problem aren’t socially kosher.

Have you seen “House Bunny”?

It’s that cute movie with Anna Faris as Shelly, a former Playboy Playmate who becomes den mother to a sorority house of misfits. Anyway, Shelly remembers people’s names by repeating them as soon as she’s heard them — in a possessed voice like Linda Blair from “The Exorcist."

Obviously, that won’t work. Neither will using lyrics to “The Name Game” at Thursday night’s Salvation Army dinner with Bob Costas.

I’m fairly certain I’d be escorted out before I got “Bob, Bob, bo-Bob / Banana-fana fo-bob” out of my mouth. I would hope.

I’ve also stopped short — so far, anyway — of telling people I’ll cover their events only if they enforce name tags for all guests. But that wouldn’t be fair. Nor would it be helpful, really, as I’d probably end up staring at people’s name tags the entire time I was talking to them, which would be most unfortunate depending on where they slapped said name tags.

I tend to remember people better if they’ve told me something deeply personal about themselves.

But I can’t force that.

Person: “I’m So-and-So."

Me: “Fabulous. Do those You- Tube videos of pets that sound like they’re talking scare you as much as they scare me?” Person: (stunned silence) Me: “Never mind …” (change to “Exorcist” voice) “… So-and-so."

I’d prefer using a method that wouldn’t eventually prompt a 911 call. So should I be straight-up honest? Something like, “Hey, your face is familiar, but I am awful with names. Would you tell me one more time? Again?” Or is that rude?

Maybe one day we’ll all have retinal scanners that will pop up the person’s name in the upper left-hand corner of our peripheral vision. In the meantime, if we run into one another, my face flushes, and I refer to you as, “Oh, hey, you!” please don’t take offense.

Unless you’re … uh … Mom and Dad.

Posted from Tulsa World. Click here for original article.