No good with names, me. Useless altogether. I hear a name, I smile and say it back to the person, I say it to myself thirty-five times, I come up with a little mnemonic and then, boom, it’s gone. This is no way to live. For a start, it’s rude. Or, more correctly, it comes across as being rude. When someone forgets your name, you can’t help but feel devalued, trivialised. I know I do when it happens to me. It’s no good telling yourself that people meet people all the time and that, since each and every one of us insists on having a name of our own, mistakes are inevitable. You drop your chin and wonder “Christ, am I that forgettable?” Then you say your name again, only quieter this time, your confidence in bits around your feet. Well, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of making people feel that way. I’m tired of calling people “Ehoheh”, as in “Hello there … eh … oh … eh …” I’m tired of the squinting and the brain-racking and the excuse-making (“Me got parasitic worm living in head”). So I’ve made a decision. From now on, unless I have documentary evidence to the contrary, I’m going to call everyone “Pat”. Men, women, young, old, I’m not discriminating. Pats as far as the eye can see. Granted, I’ll be wrong 99.9% of the time but that’s not the point. The point is that I will say “Pat” with total confidence, as though I had thought of nothing else but him (or her) since the last time I met her (or him). There’s a big difference, I’m guessing, between simply getting someone’s name wrong and just staring at them like a goldfish, all flapping gums and inadequate memory. At least I hope there is. Because my problem’s getting worse. If matters continue to deteriorate, I’m liable to get bludgeoned to death one of these days by (brace yourself) an unknown assailant.