I met a man I knew in the supermarket the other day. At least I think I knew him. He at least knew me. I at least knew the supermarket.

The problem is, I didn’t know his name. Or more accurately, I couldn’t remember his name.

We had a very nice conversation, poised there between the cereals and the pickles, with him asking me about our kids, our jobs, our living will, did we understanding string theory and how was that trip to Paris?

I interjected occasionally, trying to avoid any phrases that would require me to use his name in a complete sentence. I hoped that no one else would come by whose name I also didn’t know and I would have to introduce two people to each other without actually using either of their names.

In fact, although I didn’t remember his name, I did remember his wife, his kids, his dog and how he voted in the 1972 Democratic Presidential primaries. But the name escaped me.

I knew it began with the letter B. And it had three syllables. It was something like Bergamot. Or maybe it was O’Reilly. And his first name was Jim. Or it may have been Bob. Then again, it could have been Arlene.

I was pretty sure I used to work with him. He was in the next cubicle. Or he was the guy at the shoe store who knew I pronated. Or he was my cousin. I’m sure I could pin it down if I could just think of his name.

There are many names I can remember, like the name of the kid who sat behind me in third grade and the name of the actor who played Wilmer the gunsel in “Casablanca.” (It was Elisha Cook Jr., if you’re checking. I even remember the name of Elisha Cook Sr. He was not in “Casablanca.”)

I can remember the name of the singer who sang “Spirit in the Sky” in 1969 (Norman Greenbaum). I can remember all the names of the infielders for the 1970 Baltimore Orioles (from left to right, Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger, Davey Johnson, Boog Powell).

But of course, everybody knows those names and knows which of the Baltimore Orioles played infield and which played in “Casablanca.”

But I can’t remember the names of people I ran into yesterday. People I’m expected to know. So I’d like to make a request.

From now on, when you run into me in the supermarket and you say hi, before you ask me about string theory, please say your name as well. Enunciate clearly. Say it twice in case I miss it the first time.

“Hi, Neil, it’s Bob Bergamot from the shoe store. You know, the one who told you that you pronate, and then explained to you what pronate means even though you didn’t understand it.”

If not, wear a name tag.

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