Saturday, March 16, 2019

How to Remember Everyone's Name Every Time

March 16, 2019
   I have a terrible time with names and I often get tortured at book signings by people who met me once and think I remember them. 

   Last Thursday afternoon I gave a talk out at the Superstition Mountain Museum and 683 people came through the gates to hear me speak on the Crazy Legends of Arizona. The speech was outdoors and some people arrived at ten a.m. to hear the talk at two p.m.

The gathering crowd at 1:30

   The talk went well, and afterwards I retreated to a table under the veranda of the bookstore to sell my books. 

The view from my book table

   There was a decent line and after about four sales a re-enactor type steps up who looks vaguely familiar (I must meet a hundred guys like this a year). He buys a book and I say my standard, "How would you like it signed?" And he says "Like you did last time." 

   Oh, boy.

   I tried to coax a name out of him: "Remind me how to spell your name?" He says, "It's D-I-E." So I write—To Die—and then he hands me his business card and it turns out his name is Dieter! So I add the extra letters and then he says, "Do you still have that T-shirt I gave you ten years ago?"

   Yes, of course, it's my favorite shirt.

   If you can relate to any of this, you need to watch this SNL skit. It is brilliant and speaks directly to some of us who have an insane inability to remember names. Bill Hader, as the host Vince Blight, is absolutely fantastic.

What's That Name?

"The secret to remembering names is IRA: Impression (look at them and say their name to yourself), Repetition (say the name five times) and Association (combine their name with something funny or unique like a pun or a rhyme)."
—A book I read in high school that promised to give me the key to remembering everyone's name every time. I have remembered the acronym for 55 years but I still can't remember names! 

1 comment:

  1. You're a guy after my own heart. I worked in retail garden centers for years that saw repeat customers year after year. Unless they wore a name tag, I was doomed. Funny though....I usually could remember what same plants they bought every season "Oh, how did those Brandywine tomatoes do last year." And believe me, at 68 yrs old, it only gets worse. Most times the only thing that saved me was if they paid with a credit card....the damn names right on it.


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