Our friend Ammo Grrrll is not out of ammo. Ammo Grrrll checks in this morning with THE CASE FOR MANDATORY NAMETAGS. She writes:
If you live long enough, eventually you will have difficulty remembering the names of anyone you haven’t known since grade school or aren’t currently married to. This usually begins about the time you get your first mailing from AARP (the Addled Attempting to Recognize People).
Babe Ruth just called everybody “Kid,” which is one approach. I often call people “Hon,” and, if you should land a PR job with the Obama Administration, you could call news anchors “Dude.”
Another approach is to just up and move to a new state, hypothetically, Arizona, and try hard not to meet any new people.
What you should NOT do is attempt to fake it. For one thing, people are stubbornly resistant to throwing you a life preserver. How many times have you been talking to someone you kinda sorta recognize but whose name you do not know and your wife or co-worker comes up to stand beside you, expecting an introduction? If she is a GOOD wife who knows you can only remember the names of ancient baseball players or obscure cowboy action actors from your childhood, she will put out her hand and say, “I’m Ammo Grrrll, nice to meet you.” And do you think the doofus will say his or her name back? Oh no, that would be too helpful.
Continuing the theme of faking it: It will also not behoove you to try to fish around for some clue. Sample scenario at a party:
Vaguely Familiar Person Who Seems to Know YOU: “Hey, Arnie, great to see you!”
You (Arnie): “Wow, yeah, how you been?”
You (madly searching for clues): “How’s work?”
VFP: “Oh you know, same old, same old.”
You: “The family good?”
VFP: “You bet.”
You: “Well, I’ve got to get to the Post Office before the price of stamps changes. Whoa! Look at that hottie over there!”
VFP: “That’s my wife.”
You: “Sure, I knew that.”
It has long been my contention that it’s not what you don’t know in Life that hurts you the most, but what you know for sure that isn’t true. If you are doing a crossword puzzle and the clue is “an intrusive govt agency” in 4 letters, and you’re sure it’s OSHA, when it’s NLRB, you are going to be heading down the wrong path at full speed.
This happened to my mother several years ago. She was in her hometown mall with her adult grandson, Marc, a very proper, easily-embarrassed young man, when she ran into a woman she hadn’t seen for some time, who she was absolutely certain was a lady named Betty. The following conversation took place that has become legend in our family:
Lady: “Well, goodness gracious, you’re looking wonderful, Dorothy!”
Mom: “How sweet of you to say that! How’s your husband?”
Lady: (long pause) “He died three years ago. You were at the funeral.”
Mom: “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry. I thought you were Betty B.”
Lady: “No, I’m Shirley S.”
Mom: (waiting for floor to open up) “Well, for Pete’s sake. I could have sworn…”
Marc: (sprinting away, blending into crowd. Grandma? What Grandma? I’ve never seen this woman in my life.)
I realize that in Minnesota you can’t even convince the electorate that an ID should be required to vote. One man, one vote is so yesterday. New motto: one felon, one illegal, 300 votes for Franken! But, I think with our aging Boomers, it would be very helpful to have mandatory nametags. Give us a sporting chance to avoid humiliation.