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