Friday, May 16, 2008

Who Are You?

I am getting worse with remembering people’s names.

However, I have just come up with an invention that is not only going to solve my problem and that of millions of other aging Boomers, but will also make me a tidy fortune.

It’s a pair of glasses. If you are a Boomer, picture a generous pair of glasses like _________ wore on Hollywood Squares. There is a blank there because I can’t remember his name.

As a person approaches, your glasses zoom in on the face and send the image via the cellular network, or whatever, to some national data base somewhere. Instantly a text message is sent to your hearing aid giving the person’s name and some other conversation points like name of spouse, most recent health problem, etc.

This has to happen really fast because once you are forced to say hi buddy, pal, dear, or whatever it is too late to recover. The person knows you are adrift in the No Name Zone.

I used to have what I call the three second lag. It took me three seconds to come up with a person’s name no matter how close the bonds of blood and kinship. Vamping for three seconds can be hard, but it is doable without resorting to the buddy thing. Now it’s gotten worse. I ran into a friend's ex-wife recently and have been three days trying to come up with her name. No luck. I don’t want to ask him, because I am sure he would rather forget.

Elisabeth, my daughter, says I have always been bad with names, which is why I make up names for people whose actual names I can’t remember. She calls this distorting the world to fit my own reality. Guilty. I will frequently say things like “I ran into Creepy the other day and he says hi.”

I am also very bad at remembering the names of people I am introduced to at social or business functions. In my defense, this is due to a failure of concentration. My mind has usually wandered to wondering whether I have time for a third drink before the bar closes or whether that waiter with the crab cakes is going to pass this way.

Wait. Forget the eyeglass gizmo, I just got a better idea. The Supreme Court has said it is okay for a state to require citizens to present a government i.d. in order to vote. There has also been a great deal of discussion about Federal identity cards. How about a National Name Tag Initiative? Every adult will be required to wear a name tag that is clearly visible at 10 feet by a person with declining eye sight.

Now, ladies, before you go all negative about the impact of this on your fashion statement, the legion of designers in this country will soon be turning these things into the latest and hottest accessory item. Men may even have the option of the ident-a-tie, thus revitalizing the flagging necktie business.

Children will only be required to wear name tags at family gatherings where senior family members will be in attendance. This is for their own good. Nothing is more hurtful to a young child than granddad calling him by the name of a family dog that died three years ago.

Well, I will have to continue to develop this program at a later date. What’s-her-name will be home from work soon and I have to get supper started.

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