I don’t know another person on the planet as bad at remembering names as me. I can’t use my age as an excuse either.  My first recollection of my incompetency occurred in college. I was so excited for this particular first date.  When I introduced us to my my roommates date, I gushed.  Hi, I’m Mike Moses and this is my date, Jane Still. Total loss of cool. 

Years later I taught a large Sunday School class which included my son and his friends.  Each week I'd  forget some names and would write them on the board so I could  remember them.  One Sunday, after teaching this class for a year, I walked into the classroom and my mind went completely  blank.  I couldn’t recall one name—including that of my son.
Who knows where my mind goes when I meet people and why, two seconds after an introduction, I cannot recall their names.  I am so busy smiling, and thinking of something I like about them, that their name enters some black hole in my brain and disappears.  

Some people practice techniques that are supposed to help. Like this.  Think of the name of the person you just met. Assign that name to something you can relate it to and put it in a silly sentence. Now, does it seem rational to tell someone who can't remember a single name, to change the name you can't remember anyway and then make up and memorize an entire sentence about it?

What if I met someone named Liz and associated her as, Liz the lizard likes leopard leotards. I would probably forget lizard and think,  salamander.   They both soak in the sun. Sammy salamander soaks in the sun, hence Samantha. Even if I did remember the name Liz I would always picture her in leopard leotards. 

If I was required to think all that silly stuff when I met someone for the first time, I would stand there stupidly trying to think of something to think about instead of smiling and saying hello. 

One method I do find effective, when I can't remember a name and don't want to say, "hey you," I come up with a substitute nickname.

"Hey Babe, Cutie, Darlin', or Sweetie.  Hey Stud, or hey Guy are a little more awkward but still better than, hey Whatcherename."  

When I became an author, calling people Babe, Stud, or Cutie just wouldn't cut it when friends asked me to sign their book. I was forced to memorize a different strategy. One that would not make me look like a socially inept freak. 

One day my husband's cousin, I can’t remember his name, approached me with a book that he wanted me to sign. He gave me a big hug and asked me to sign his book.  I smiled and went for my strategy.

“Who do you want me to write it too?”
He gave me an odd look and said. “My wife.”

I gave him a radiant smile.  “How do you spell that?  I want to be sure to get it right." 

He looked at me like my head had turned into a turnip and sprouted horns, and slowly spelled.  S…A…M…
It was one of those, oh where is a 9 point 0 earthquake when you need it.



 I had one simple goal when I woke up Saturday morning; get my eyebrows waxed. To the  average person who gets their grooming done once or twice a month this might seem like a trivial task.  

Personally, however, I don't seem to think about grooming until my annual spring cleaning.  Clean your house, wax your face.  Prune those grasses, shrubs and bushy brows. My problem is that I can never go the same place twice because my neighborhood shops go out of business.  Perhaps the yearly de-forestation of my face is a deal breaker.

Saturday, I was working so I thought about asking some friends where, and if, they get their brows done. "How often to you get your eyebrows waxed?"  “Are you going to get your eyebrows waxed soon?" "Do you wax your eyebrows yourself or have it done?" 

Maybe I was just sensitive because of my own unibrow, but it  didn't matter how I worded it, it sounded bad.  I may as well come out and say. “Hey, you should really think about cleaning up all that scraggly stuff growing where your eyebrows used to be." 

I had an hour before I figured shops would be closing so I decided to drive down the strip on my way home and see if I could find a hair salon. Apparently, the new trend is to ditch the waxing and hone in on the fingernails because every other shop was touting manicures.  Then I remembered  the little shop that had just opened up a few blocks from home, Miranda's

I pulled into the parking lot. They were still open.  I hurried, hoping they would have time to clean me up.  I read the sign on the door.  That's unusual. Why would they need my ID?  I opened my purse to pull out my wallet,  pushed the door open, and stepped inside.

Little boxes of green leafy plants covered the counters.  I didn't ask about eyebrows. I didn't give them a chance to say what I knew they would say.  I simply gave a sick little smile, backed out the door and asked myself.  "What was I smoking."   


 You know your dinner is a failure when your guests are smarter than you. Especially when the guest you are referring to is a non cooking male whose idea of gourmet cooking is to put a spoonful of peanut butter onto a slice of apple.

 Of course, none of this was my fault.  The blame lies directly on my husband, Rick. He had nothing whatsoever to do with the meal, but that is exactly why it is his fault. He has changed his eating habits the past year and shed a lot of weight. His meals consist of plain meat, rice or potatoes, and vegetables.  Gone are all meals requiring imagination with a flair for sauces and saut├ęs. It is his fault that I have not only forgotten how to cook, but that I also forgot all the meals that I can’t remember how to cook.

It was Easter dinner and I had decided to go simple. Ham, salad, asparagus, rolls purchased from the store, and boxes of scalloped potatoes. Nothing hard about that. I do still remember how to boil water, open packages and read directions. At least I thought I did, until it came to the strawberry pie.

I had purchased the pie crusts, so all I had to do was place the strawberries on the crust and cover with a sauce.  The problem was, the sauce.  My first hint that something had gone terribly wrong was when I poured it  over the strawberries it came out in globs.  I revisited the cookbook. Because of my husbands inconsiderate dieting, I had forgotten that there is a HUGE difference between TSP and TBS.

I may have forgotten how to measure correctly but one thing I do know is that kids will eat anything if it has enough sugar.  I covered the globby pie with a mountain of whip cream,  and scored big points for spoiling them with a huge piece of strawberry pie.

I remeasured the cornstarch correctly the second time around and the next two pies were perfect.
When it was time to serve my strawberry confection, I poured the whipping cream into a bowl, and proceeded to whip it into a frenzy. I beat it and beat it as it began to aerate and fill the bowl, but it would not thicken. I added some powdered sugar. Martha, our guest was helping me in the kitchen while her husband, Ryan, was visited with my husband in the living room.

Rick knew enough not to interfere with my culinary creations, besides, his diet made him uninvested.  Ryan, however, was highly motivated by the outcome.  He saw me add more powdered sugar.

“I usually add regular sugar,” he said.  This was the second clue that he was a culinary illiterate.

“Well you would be wrong,” I smiled. “I have no idea why this won’t whip. I never have a problem with this.”

I picked up the empty carton to check the carton to see if it held a clue as to why it was defectivel  Apparently my husbands dieting had reached it's skinny little tentacles into the grocery store. I had purchased half and half. Martha was much more polite than Rick  was when I made this kind of mistake. She didn’t laugh very hard at all. 

Ryan was obviously still invested in the whip cream. He politely, or was it smugly, suggested that I whip up some egg whites and pour some of the half and half in it to put on the strawberries. It was a brilliant idea for a culinary illiterate.

I carefully separated the yolks of two eggs and Ryan started to beat the whites. Everything was going perfectly, until the third egg.  Martha picked that moment to jinx me with a warning not to let any egg yolk get in the whites. Of course the next moment egg yolk slipped between my fingers into the frothy whites taking them back to liquid form.  Dinner would have been amazing if not for Rick and Martha. That's all I have to say!


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