Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Name | Introduction | Three Easy Tips for Remembering Names
Last week's Magic Lantern essays by Nic Pillai were so good, we decided to give them their own week (supplemented, naturally, by some pretty extensive Wider Reading). This week we return to the traditional format, the theme being NAMES.
Being able to remember names is a very handy thing in life; it can make the difference in business, it sets conversations off on the right foot and it also avoids awkward moments. As antidote and method here are three easy tips for remembering names.
1. Go with your gut
How many times have you seen someone for the second time and been not quite sure of their name? You have an idea of who they are, a name pops into your head but you hesitate, then bottle it and call them mate/man/bitch instead. You later discover that the name you first thought of was spot on. It’s a bastard when it happens – so simply jump in with your instincts and call them exactly what you think they might be called as soon as you see them. However, it is important to remember not to open the tap of the subconscious too much, as you run the risk of insulting the arrangement of your anonymous acquaintance's face, or something like that.
Breathe. In. Out. You’re on a beach. Mojito. Sip. The sand is very hot. It burns the soles of your feet. You should have packed flip-flops. Down the coast, some 200 meters, you can see a body lying in the sand. Sip. It is still. Sip. You edge closer to investigate. Approaching it from behind, you circle around. You realise it is not a human being at all and you see instead a large, quite damp, stuffed-toy dolphin wrapped in a trench coat. Scrawled across its breast in what you assume to be a Sharpie is the name 'Roxanne'. 3. 2. 1. You’re back in the room.
3. Taking Down Names
When introduced to several people at once, it is a very good idea to, once they have introduced themselves, distract the group, point out the window with a look of tragedy on your face or, if in a bar, start a fight – and use the time to jot down their names.
It is crucial to note down some details along with the name or you'll end up a signpost short of a compass. If you carry a notebook, use that. If not, improvise: in a pub perhaps write on a beer mat; if in a posh restaurant, you could cut off a corner from the table cloth.
Personally, I follow an established structure to ensure my records are well-ordered. First, I write down the name. Second, I assign to that name an archetype – by which I mean the universal pattern of character that best suits the person I am trying to remember. Don’t be racist. To help decide which archetype to put, it is best to do a little research. For example, slide in the question, 'How do you feel about breaking the rules of the Gods?' If they react positively they are probably the 'Trickster'. If you have already started a bar-fight, it’s best to calm it all back down again so you can ask these questions. Third, age. Dip pocket/purse for wallet, get info from driving license or passport. If you get caught, just ask them how old they are. Fourth, and lastly, guess their star sign.
If you follow the all above closely you will never forgot anyone’s name ever again.