Monday, December 18, 2006

Names, names, names

We used to be a team, partners. I used to be able to count on Lauren to help me out. I could trust her, no matter what the circumstance, to cover for my weaknesses. If we were out, and met people that knew me, but I did not remember their names, she knew to introduce herself in an effort to help me get their name. All I had to do was give her a look and she knew. She knew to help me out.

However, recently our relationship has changed. I did not see it coming.

Sunday night Nikki, one of the moms in the neighborhood, called our house to see if we were bringing the kids to the parade of boats at the lake. The parade of boats is a tradition in our neighborhood where a bunch of boats are decorated with lights and what-have-you for Christmas. I told Nikki we would meet her, her husband, and her kids down at the lake. I do not know Nikki or her family all that well, I think they are good people and I enjoy their company the few times I have seen them at the playground. Lauren knows her and her family better than I do.

On our walk down to the lake, I asked Lauren what are Nikki’s kid’s names. Lauren laughed and said, “You can’t remember? I am going to make you figure it out.”

(I am the type of person who used to be good with names. I used to have my own nicknames for people that I could use association tricks to remember their names. The guy that worked for Philly Extract was Jake from Philly Extract. The guy that worked for the aquarium was the "Fish Guy". The woman that worked for Gelmarc was Gail from Gelmarc. I did not need to know their names, I would just call them by what they did or how I met them. Big Mike was big. His name may have not been Mike but that is what I called him. Bubblegum Bob always had bubblegum. Crazy Bill was, well crazy. You get the point. But when it comes to people's real names, I suck.

I don’t like the fact that names are difficult for me. And I don’t like to be embarrassed at the fact that I do not remember names. Especially children's names. I like when other people remember my kid's names only after meeting them once or twice. It makes me feel good. Like they left an impression. So when I see other kids, I like to return the favor so to speak.

“Just tell me. It would easier that way.” I asked.

“No. Figure it out.” She said.

“Tell me her husband’s name.”

“You don’t remember?”

“Greg? No. Mark? No. It is a “G’ name. Right?”

“I can’t believe you don’t know this.” Lauren said tormenting me.

“Just tell me the kid’s names.” I pleaded. “I know their girl is Madison because Nikki said that on the phone. But what is their son's name?”

“I am going to let you figure it out.”

“Lukas? No he is Greg and Janelle’s Boy. Janelle’s husband is Greg right? No Greg is Nikki’s husband. Wait a minute. Nikki's husband works for a retirement home. Greg works for NASA. You are seriously going to make me figure this out on my own, aren’t you?”

Lauren just laughed. I ran through a bunch of names and she did not even give me a sign whether I was hot or cold. We finally arrived at the party and greeted Nikki and her kids. I listened closely trying to figure out what her son’s name was, to see if she would say it. Nothing. After about 10 minutes Nikki apologized to Lauren about something and Lauren said, “That’s okay. Bill doesn’t know that your son’s name is Jared. He has been trying to figure it out for the past half hour.”

She threw me under the bus.


Anonymous said...

You are clearly losing your edge, Bill. If you threatened to call the kid something like, oh, I don't know, let's borrow from one of your about "gay bird"...I bet Lauren would have told you.

Nilbo said...


I am the Name Rememberer in our family. But sometimes I draw a blank. My wife knows that if she doesn't step up and introduce herself - thereby eliciting a name - I will totally throw HER under a bus next time she's with people we've known for a long time and she draws a blank.

It's called Mutually Assured Destruction. It works.

Nilbo said...


Anonymous said...

Lauren's an ornery one that's for sure!

Steve said...

Wow, that's cold. Both of us got caught with the "made up name" syndrome at a party once. We struggled to remember this person's name and all we cold recall was that we nicknamed here 'smoking marge.'

At least the other people there told us her real name.

Anonymous said...

BubbleGum Bob...

Now that is funny

Anonymous said...

While you were at the lake, was that couple there still making out?

Anonymous said...

Greg from NASA

That is funny too.

lawnwhisperer said...

Hey I do that too when refferring to family sometimes. People ask me how my family is doing and reffer to you, but can't remember your name. I say, "Oh you mean Bill the Orlando Jackass." He's doing well.

MrsDoF said...

When DOF and I were in college, one old and tenured professor had so many faces and names to remember from all those years with students in class.
He gave up, and called all guys 'Handsome' and all girls "Dearheart".

When we got married, the UPS truck brought a package. I opened it. No card or other sign of who had sent the gift.
It was a silver platter, engraved with DEARHEART.
Ah, we knew exactly who had sent it.
The guy must have ordered them by the dozen, since several friends also received that same gift with engraving at their weddings.

Maybe you can find an all-inclusive title for a kid, like "Cowboy" or "Duchess". Little kids are very forgiving.
Then your missus might find something else to tease you about.

The picture is really cool. I can't get the nights and lights to be clear enough, to put on screen anyway.

Childsplayx2 said...

Yeah, but she's beautiful so she's forgiven. Us guys are fickle like that.

On the other hand, you could have just gone with the always useful "big guy" when talking to little Jared. I do this all the time.

Meegs said...

Lol, I have the same problem. It makes me feel horrible, because it has nothing to do with how I feel about the person... I just can't remember names. I "hunny" and "sweetie" and "doll" everyone (whether I remember their names or not)!

I'm sorry Lauren through you under the bus.

Oh, and I tagged you... check out my blog to see for what.

eclectic said...

I'm thinking you're a tough guy to actually throw anywhere, so I'm all impressed with Lauren right now. ;)

But wasn't there a post a few days back about how pleased you are at how she's turned out?


Anonymous said...

You spend a lot of time under that bus, don't you?

Thumbelina's Mom said...

Just call them 'kiddo'.

Unknown said...

We have nicknames for people we know, too -- mostly people from our respective companies. I had a gentleman that irritated the hell outta me every day, just by breathing. He no longer works for the company, but his nickname will forever be "Ed the Weenie".

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Lauren know what naughty girls get for Christmas? Yeah, BABY, she does!

Unknown said...

Anytime I meet someone I immediately tell them that I will promptly forget their name. Seriously. It works. It's like a doctor's note for being stupid...errrrr, forgetful.

Kami said...


Amanda said...

My husband is very bad at the name thing. I would have helped you.

Slinger said...

I too have doen this at neighborhood gatherings. We have about 6 families in our block with kids under 6, so imagine how hard that is when you have a block party!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I do sympathise, William, I'm also a nightmare with names. I'm sure you'll return the favour to Lauren at an appropriate time!

Anonymous said...

Good thing she's gorgeous.

Michelle said...

Ouch! As the Name Rememberer in the house of Pajamas, I have been known to throw SS Dad under a bus or two myself. But, at least he doesn't have a blog to share it with the world. Good thing she's such a hottie - and the mother of your two adorable kids!

Anonymous said...

What's in a name? My sons thought heartily about what to call their sons. Then they named them. However the children never get called by their given name. They get "Buddy", "Pal", "Bubba". I have even heard, "Come here, YOU!" Their daughters get, "Princess', Punkin", "Sweetie Pie", "Honey". Like I say, 'What's in a name?"