Saturday, August 6, 2011

What's Your Name Again?

Note: This is my post for today, 08/06/2011. But for some odd, she-must-have-been-drinking sort of reason, it published as May 6th. What can I say? Houlihan's has good chocolate martinis!

As parents, we decided that we did not want our son to call us by our given names. It would be too weird, we thought, and calling us by our first names would not clearly establish to others our relationship. We agreed that it would be best for all concerned if Zane called us Mama and Daddy or some variation of those names. Problem solved. I did not take into account my horrible difficulty with names.

I am great with faces. If I see a face a couple of times, I seem to remember that face for a very long time. It might take me awhile, but eventually I will remember where I saw that face, and then why. Yet I am terrible with names. Not only do I have trouble recalling names, even of people I know, I sometimes call people that I know well by other names. For example, I have called my boss "Mom", and my husband "Jim". Important tip: husbands don't seem to respond well to being called someone else's name any more than bosses do.

This unfortunate tendency gets me into quite a few embarrassing situations. Names that start with the letter 'T' for example, may cause me to go through a veritable laundry list of other 'T' names before I get to the right one. My nephews Tristan and Tyler have learned to just respond when I call them "Tris-Tyler" or "Ty-Tristan", but other people aren't as generous.

I get dirty looks and worse. But is that really fair? The only person I've ever given a hard time about not remembering my name is my mother. She only has one daughter, and she called me my brother's name. That faux pas requires a bit of teasing; it is some sort of law somewhere.

If everyone would just wear name tags all the time, this wouldn't be an issue. I hate wearing name tags, however, which is probably some sort of irony. I really can't expect others to do what I won't do myself.

I've worked so hard to get my son to call his parents Mama and Daddy. I did not count on those names embedding themselves so deeply into my brain. For the past two months, I have had to stop myself from calling every single female I meet "Mama". It actually takes me a couple of seconds to pause and locate the correct name. Any man who approaches me risks being referred to as "Daddy", whether he is one or not.

I am not sure what the answer is to this dilemma. My instinctive solution is to just not say the name at all, to just fake it. This is probably rude, but I hate having to ask for someone's name every time I see them. I also tend to insert a term of endearment in place of a name, so I may call the person "sweetie" or "my little cheesy-poof". That doesn't necessarily go over well at school board meetings.

Yeah, faking it is probably my best option.


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