The Importance of Being Ernest

This is the time of year when I forget the names of my children.

Like Porky Pig I stutter through every name in the family until I land on the right one. And even then, sometimes I don't get it right. Abee Ceebie Deebie Eeebie Rider, stop throwing the football in the house before you break a lamp!

Rider is our cat.

It is the time of year when we are all still searching for routine, when social activities introduce kids and parents into our lives like an algae bloom, when new and old acquaintances regularly flash into our consciousness as if we are peering into the windows of a fast moving commuter train.

It's a lot of people to keep track of.

My kids think misplacing names has something to do with age, but even they make mistakes. They come bounding down the stairs looking for their cleats and scream at me. Mom, I can't find my . . .

I correct them with some helpful clues. Dad: low voice, big forehead, hairy legs. Mom: long hair, attractive, patient.

It turns out mistaking the names of loved ones is quite common. It is called the Bob Syndrome, named after noted psychologist Ernest Von Something-or-Other, who in his book, My Name Is Not Bob, argues that familial name displacement is positively correlated to the size of the nuclear family. Sadly, the author was an only child.

But this doesn't explain why I juggle the names of my youthful subjects, yet have total recall for their objects. In my misplaced directives to the kids I never stumble over whether they are throwing a football a baseball a basketball or a boomerang, or whether they are about to hit the lamp the vase the window or the cat. I just get their names wrong.

The truth is I am pretty good at remembering names—even at large social gatherings. I find paying attention helps.

For example, when someone pops before me at a party I quickly cram the hors d'oeuvre I have just been handed into my mouth, politely shake their hand, and concentrate on their name instead of say, the hot Chinese mustard that is dribbling down my chin or the fact that my tongue has just burst into flames.

I also find I remember names if I spell them out in my head. B-O-B. Nice to meet you Bob!

But often people have exotic names from distant parts of the world like Mongolia or Mozambique or Cleveland and I have to ask them to repeat their names several times. S-X-A-R-U-J—is it OK if I call you Bob?

Sean is the worst name in the world. Nobody knows how to spell it, not even the people who use it.

There are other ways to remember names too, but I often forget these tricks when I need them. Once I tried a name memory trick at a large social event only to realize later that it was the method used to ease jittery nerves when speaking in front of people. Whenever I met someone I tried to imagine them with no clothes on. It's a pleasure to meet you, Harry!

Thankfully, I didn't meet his wife.

Of course nothing works in loud settings where people have to cup their hands to their mouths when they speak. Hi, my name is Smfffgiry. What? Smfffgiry! WHAT? SMFFFGIRY! OH, PLEASED TO MEET YOU SHAWN, HOW DO YOU LIKE THE GREEN DAY CONCERT?

My name is so common that I help people out when I introduce myself. Hi, my name is John, J-O-Q-N. The Q is silent I tell them. This makes people laugh and helps distinguish me from all the other Johns in the world. They smile warmly and shake my hand. Pleased to meet you Shaun, they say.

My wife and I ran into a couple at a restaurant recently. I could vividly remember meeting the husband from a recent social event, but his name took some time to bubble up. Sean? Smifffgiry? Bob?

Then he waved me over. John with a Q! Hey, good to see you again. It's Harry. Remember? I don't think you met my wife Fannie. . .

I will never forget their names again. Ever.

Of course, I don't really forget the names of my children; they just go missing temporarily, like sanity. So sometimes I just call them You Guys even when I am talking to one. Hey You Guys, don't throw the basketball in the house or you will break the window!

OK Mom, says my daughter.

It's the time of year when I start to call my daughter Sweetie, my sons Buddy or Pal, and my wife Honey because well, that's how I feel about them.

And I never mix them up.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, February 19 – Sunday, February 25, 2018

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library are continuing their book collection in preparation for Annual Book Sale.  Kids are off from school on Monday for Presidents’ Day – bring them to the library!  We have plenty for them to do.  For adults, Professor Licklider’s second lecture on North Korea will take place on Tuesday.  The ...

A Week at the Library of The Chathams - Monday, February 5 – Sunday, Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Week at the Library of The Chathams

Monday, February 5 – Sunday, Sunday, February 11, 2018

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library book collection continues.  The tax season is here, and dedicated volunteers are here to help you with you tax returns!

For information about all programs or to sign up, please call the library at 973‑635‑0603 or go to ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Sara Irish of Chatham Named to Saint Joseph's University Dean's List

February 18, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Sara Irish of Chatham earned Dean's List honors at Saint Joseph's University for the Fall 2017 semester.

Irish studies Risk Management and Insurance in the University's Erivan K. Haub School of Business. Students must achieve a grade point average of 3.5 or above, a B or greater in all their classes, and complete at least 15 credits to earn Dean's ...