Do You Remember Names?

Some people remember the name of everyone they’ve ever met. I consider them mental wizards and admire them greatly. I was born without their gift, as you will see.

Question mark

Don’t ask me how to remember names. I forget a person’s name the instant after I hear it, even if we have a conversation. Always have. I used to be embarrassed about it, but not any more. I just say, “I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name,” with a smile. The soon-to-be-nameless-again person doesn’t seem to be offended, but maybe they all are just good at covering up their true thoughts (like, “What an idiot.” or “Who does she think she is?”) But I care not. I have accepted this failure in myself because I have no choice. No memory exercises have helped me, perhaps because I have not practiced diligently enough. Besides, I am not offended when someone forgets my name. I can’t afford to be.

I do remember faces, and sometimes when I have confessed to not remembering a name I will let the person know that I remember his/her face. I don’t want people to think they are unimportant to me, so this is the one positive offering I am pleased to make.

I also remember certain esoteric facts, like female ducks quack – males don’t, or mixed long-haired/short-haired cats shed more than purebred long-hairs do, or ambergris comes from whale intestines, or horses can’t throw up. Hmm. I just noticed these are all related to animals. This may be significant.

Other esoteric facts I should remember, like what’s-his-name’s uncertainty principle, go unremembered until I am writing about something related to physics and I have to look it up for the umpteenth time. Of course, I don’t really know if the uncertainty principle will apply, but I look it up in case it will.

So far, I have stumbled along adequately without a flawless memory – at least I think I have. But I may never know, since most people can out-remember me by a mile.

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