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If You Don’t Know My Name, Don’t Try To Guess

Updated on November 25, 2008

Look, I’m not good with names either. I know all the “tricks of the professional trade” where you’re supposed to repeat the person’s name, make eye contact and then think of an animal that they remind you of that has the same first letter of the name as the person’s name and then you’re sure to remember their name – whatever – I’ve never done it (and maybe that’s why I can’t remember anyone’s name). But here’s the deal, if you don’t know my name, don’t try to guess – Don’t Get Me Started!

I know that some people have had the experience of someone screaming the wrong person’s name in the throes of passion but having been with the same man for the past twenty years and the man I was with prior to that had the same first name as the current one, the chances of me using the wrong name during sex is an impossibility at this point. (Unless of course I ever get shoved back out into the dating scene at some point and have to date someone who doesn’t have the same first name of basically everyone I’ve ever dated, then I could see the possibility of the wrong name being called in bed somewhere at some point at some time). Well, to those of you who have that problem or who may have that problem, this blog may not help you.

What I’m talking about is once again Starbucks (at the moment). Not my daily Starbucks where I’m known far and wide as the Scott that I am, I’m talking about the weekend Starbucks location. As I’ve written before, I’m not wild about the fact that the baristas at my Starbucks are now soccer moms instead of the wild boys of Starbucks (not to be confused with Duran Duran’s classic, “Wild Boys”) and these mom-like gals seem to have no retention of names. Last weekend the woman at the counter took my drink order and then said, “Um…is it…Roger?” This weekend it was a different woman (though frankly at this point they all look alike to me. I don’t think all black people look alike but I DO think that all soccer moms look alike, does that make me a soccerist instead of a racist?) The woman was staring at me as if my name might suddenly appear on my forehead and said, “I want to say your name is…Peter?” I wanted to say, “I want to say WRONG – stop “trying” or giving the illusion you’re trying and just ask me for fuck sake!” but instead I mustered an insincere smile and just said, “It’s Scott.”

Years ago when I was working for a large company I discovered that when I would go out into the field and see all the workers in the stores they would all know my name but I didn’t know their names (there were 1500 employees across seventeen locations). They would greet me with big smiles and say, “Scott!” and what I discovered was that I had a stock response without even trying to have a stock response. I probably used it for years without ever knowing it. I would say, “Hey YOU! How are YOU? It’s so good to see YOU.” When I finally discovered that this was what I was doing I’m sure I’d been doing it for years. I was ashamed and embarrassed but I have to say that it worked. Sure works a lot better than putting on my Great Karnack turban and holding an envelope to my head like the late Johnny Carson and trying to guess the person’s name.

This would be all great if I would take my own advice but such is not the case. The other day a vendor just “popped” in at work and after speaking to her for awhile (and her boss that she brought with her) I called her by another vendor’s name. My excuse was that she had only been in my office once before but the damage was done.  I haven’t heard from her since even though I sent the apology email.

What I have discovered is that it’s no crime not to remember someone’s name it’s a bigger crime to just go on a guessing binge and expect to get it right. While there may always be a rabbit to pull out of a top hat, there are far too many options when it comes to names.  Better to follow this golden rule, if you don’t know my name, don’t try to guess – Don’t Get Me Started!

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      surlyoldcat 7 years ago


    • vitaeb profile image

      vitaeb 9 years ago from Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

      What did you say your name

      When I was a young smart-aleck, I used to say things like, “Nice of you to know my name just to embarrass me." This would get me one of those tortured smiles I used to relish, until I realized it didn't get me a friend. And, oh, how much I needed friends.