Monday, September 17, 2007

column 23; forgetting names

Is anyone not horrible at remembering names anymore? Ever since the practice has become socially acceptable it seems that during a series of introductions everyone in the crowd will co-sympathize about their inability to recall names, or faces, or both. I know why I can't: I don't care. But that should hardly be everyone's excuse. Or if it were it wouldn't be socially acceptable.

I was standing in line the other day with a girl whom I'd met before, and undergone the full introductory process. She remembered me, but I didn't remember her. I recognized her, and after prompting dredged up the memory of meeting in the past, though not in the levels of detail she could, but the name. The name had to be given a second time.

There are, of course, more awkward 'social interactions' ('faux pas' in French) than forgetting names. Pretending to speak another language and then finding out the person you are speaking to is bilingual. That has bit me on the ass a couple of times. Just fading out and staring at a woman's breasts until called to attention. (I was going to type 'chest' but that would have rendered it a half-truth. And you know me, I'm all about the truth.) Of course I've never become affixed to a woman's marvelous milky stallions, but I know some friends of mine who have been.

How about this? Your the King of England and you get a special Papal edict to marry a woman forbidden to you and then divorce her without Papal consent and have to start your own religion. Haven't we all been there? I suppose, on reflection, that some social actions are to be more frowned upon then others. Frankly I don't care that Henry VIII did all that, since being able to marry and divorce as you wish is, in my book, a good thing. But the whole wife-killing spree that followed was bad form.

Bad form is the root of the problem for minor infractions. Bad form is what makes it okay to own a gun in all states, but fireworks only in some. Bad form is what makes former actors born here who have been Governors of California be Presidents, while those born in Austria can't. Bad form is what allows us to show children Barney but not pornography. Okay, maybe the last one one is a good example of the usefulness of the 'bad form' concept. Replace it with 'smoking cigarettes' and 'shooting up heroin'.

In other news: Flying monkeys were pretty darn scary, weren't they? They were one of the worst parts of the Wizard of Oz. Why?

My guess is the fez. The flying monkeys were dressed up as essentially organ-grinder's monkeys, with those little vests and fezs perched on the heads. For the record fezs, or fezzi in proper plural, are the most awesome and simultaneously useless hats on the face of the planet. They do not protect from sun or cold, they do not stay on the head easily, the tassel serves no noticeable purpose. And they look fabulous. I totally want one.

But in our folk-lore people wearing fezzi are not to be trusted. My sources? Indiana Jones. Remember when that shady-looking guy appears in the third film and everyone thinks 'Oh no. That bearded fez-donning fellow looks pretty shady'? But he turns out to be a good guy, right? And you thought, 'Hey! He is not shady, for though he wears a fez I recognize him as either the Professor or Gimli, depending on my cultural upbringing.' When you first saw him, however, that fez tipped you off to identify him as shady.

Perhaps it wasn't just the fez, though. Perhaps it was the fact that they were FREAKIN' FLYING MONKEYS! AAAAAAAAH!

I bet flying monkeys wouldn't kill their wives. They'll forget your name, though.

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