Even though it doesn’t appear to be working. I will approve ASAP.

So You’ve Forgotten Someone’s Name at a Party is a purported humorous article in the New Yorker. It is actually my life.

“You’ve met four times. They definitely know your name. And yet . . . you still can’t remember theirs. Jamie? Janie? Or maybe it’s something crazy, like Beth. Whatever they call themselves, you’re ten minutes into the conversation, and at this point it would be rude to ask.”

It happens to me ALL the time. And I’ve done all those “how to remember names at a party” tricks , such as repeating their names as often as possible without being obnoxious. “Well, Sarah, I grew up in Binghamton…” It doesn’t work consistently well.

If I meet six people, it’ll usually work for the first and second. Maybe the third. But by the fourth, the second person’s name is gone. Yet I’ll recall details about them. “So when did you get your teaching degree?”

The article suggests these solutions: “Die.” Well, that seems extreme. It’s not that I haven’t said, “I just want to die,” but I didn’t mean that LITERALLY. You know LITERALLY literally.

“Build a Time Machine, Go Back to the Moment They Were Born, and Name Them Something Easier to Remember.” I’ve been wary of interfering with the space-time continuum ever since I saw the ill effects on some Star Trek episode. I change their name, they’re mortified by it, and they never go on to win a Nobel Prize in Physics. I just can’t bear that responsibility.

“Start Mimicking Them and Get So Good at It, Others Accidentally Start Calling You by Their Name.” Given all my fine qualities, I’m surprising not good at this. Besides it’s more rude than I choose to be.

“Persistently Call Them a New Name Until They Have No Choice But to Accept It As Truth.” As a librarian, I am keenly aware of false news, and I shall NOT be a purveyor of same!

“Pay an Arsonist to Set Fire to the Party.” Seem extreme. Well, I won’t do that if I’m otherwise having a good time. I don’t get out that much.

“Say Every Name You Can Think of Until They Respond to One.” I’m not going to add MORE stress, thank you.

“Draw a Scar on Your Head and Say You Lost the Part of Your Brain That Remembers Names in a Motorcycle Accident.” Mine would be a bicycle accident, but as the writer suggests, it is a “particularly elegant solution, because now you will never have to remember another name ever again.”

“Stage a Robbery to Gain Access to Their Wallet and Identification Cards.” Again, too much work; I guess I don’t hang out with the right crowd.

“Ask Another Friend What the Person’s Name Is.” That I’ll do, with increasing frequency.

Of course my real solution is that everyone needs to wear name tags, with at least 27-point font. That’s a minimum.

It was at the Grammys broadcast in January 2018 where I saw the guy dubbed Logic perform the song 1-800-273-8255. Those digits represent the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. He talks about the creation of the message here, where he tries to assures his listeners “someone is there for them.”

The recording came out in late April 2017, the third single from Logic’s third studio album, Everybody. It eventually hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

What I somehow missed was that in August 2017, there was a seven-minute video. “The clip centers around a gay black teen (Coy Stewart, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) with a white boyfriend (Nolan Gould, Modern Family) coming to grips with his sexuality and his family’s reaction to it.”

Don Cheadle and Matthew Modine play the boys’ fathers, and Luis Guzman a coach at the teens’ school. Alessia Cara and Khalid, who are featured on the record, appear in the short film as well.

Where did I see this video? At church, of course. Since it was More Light Sunday, and the Albany Gay Men’s Chorus was providing the service music, I got a rare chance to attend the adult education class.

The conversation was about depression generally, then morphed into facts about suicide and the LGBT community. LGB youth contemplate suicide thrice as often, and attempt it five times as often as heterosexual youth. 40% of transgender adults reported having attempted suicide, the vast majority before the age of 25.

Watch 1-800-273-8255 here or here

A reaction to 1-800-273-8255

Lyrics to the song by Logic (Sir Robert Hall II), 6ix (Arjun Ivatury), Alessia Cara (Alessia Caracciolo), Khalid (Khalid Robinson), and Andrew Taggart [of the Chainsmokers]

I’ve been on the low
I been taking my time
I feel like I’m out of my mind
It feel like my life ain’t mine
Who can relate?

There’s this website to which I subscribe, before it became a paid site. A recent email reads:

“Since 2010, 71% of babies named ‘Morrissey’ have been born in California (Californians really love the Smiths). Over the same period, 62 of the 99 babies born ‘Krymson’ entered the world in Alabama (where delivery rooms echo with shouts of ‘Roll Tide!’).

“These findings come to us through a rabbit hole of a query, which scours the latest Social Security Administration data for names where more than 50% of births are from a given state. Want to know which baby names are most characteristic of your state?”

There are an amazing 263 names for which at least half the people so named in the country were from the Empire State. Forty-eight names ONLY show up in New York, such as Trany (89 times) and Ruchel (82). Then there are those names that predominate here, such as Frimet (116 out of 118), Brucha (114 of 116), and Chany (337 of 344).

Other large absolute numbers: Malky (603 of 635), Gitty (714 of 805), Faigy (668 of 754), Raizy (556 of 628), and Yakov (548 of 707).

I figured California might have a lot of qualifying names; there were 63. It had eight names only found in the Golden State, including all seven of the people named Hovik. Also Hayk(85 of 100), Narek (111 of 153), Armen (108 of 174), and Curren (107 of 208).

Hawaii has 33 names where it predominates, including all 8 folks named Kiai and Kuhao, 31 of the 34 people named Hilinai. Mahina (85 of 143) and Nainoa (87 of 126) are well represented.

All 6 persons named Sanjuanita are in Texas, with a total of 28 names on the list. Other names specific to the Lone Star State: Brazos (89 of 98), Kinsler (181 of 247), Roel (252 of 369), and Debanhi (124 of 202).

Pennsylvania has 8 names listed, including Khayr (all 5), Coopar (13 of 14), and the distinctly Amish name Benuel (95 of 136).

All the 6 New Jersey names listed have between 50.5% and 57.6% of the country, including Brocha (74 of 134), Avrohom (344 of 663), and Binyomin (133 of 263).

The 5 Illinois names noted are Szymon (79 of 113), Augustas (5 of 8), Oliwia (44 of 82), Zuzanna (112 of 219), and
Kacper (165 of 325).

Two of the four Florida names are very similar: Dawens (6 of 7), Juvens (11 of 14), Marvens (84 of 118) and Marvins (10 of 19).

The three names from Louisiana: Jamyri (all 6), Jarden (5 of 8), and Amyri (44 of 82).

Massachusetts prefers Joaolucas (6 of 8) and Mariaeduarda (37 of 69).

These states had only one special name each. Arizona – Ariza (191 of 231); Georgia – Zyquavious (6 of 10); Iowa -Kinnick (202 of 257); Maryland – Khodee (5 of 8); Minnesota – Hudaifa (5 of 5); Missouri – Petie (5 of 5); Oregon -Autzen (6 of 8); Tennessee – Neyland (151 of 192); Utah – Korver (52 of 90).

Why I find this fascinating, besides the fact that the information exists at all, is that it is a reflection of the familial, ethic and social fabric of a given location.

The database also can track the most gender-neutral name of the decade. With Rooney, a baby with this name is only 0.29% more likely to be a baby girl than a baby boy. Other gender-neutral names include Clarke, Amory, and Cypress.

Rebecca Jade, Leslie Green – May 2018

Coming home from work Monday night, I received a call from my sister Marcia asking if our niece Rebecca Jade had called me. Turns out she had left a message on the answering machine.

As best as we can figure out, Rebecca’s mother, my other sister, Leslie Green, was going to work, riding her bicycle to a light-rail station in the San Diego, California. Whether she hit a pothole or another impediment, we don’t know.

What we do know is that Leslie arrived at a hospital by an emergency vehicle. I get the sense she didn’t realize how injured she was; adrenaline will do that. Fortunately, she had her helmet on, because she might have suffered brain damage, or worse. But her sunglasses probably helped to break some bones in her face.

She was in the trauma section, but she didn’t have surgery until that night because she wasn’t as bad off as other patients, which I suppose is positive news. She had a “temporary” tracheotomy; I do not know what that is. She’s breathing well.

I called a nurse early Tuesday morning, who said Leslie looked remarkably well. The swelling has largely subsided.

She had some plastic surgery on her face Wednesday night, which went well. I’m mentioning all this, despite hating to write extemporaneously about fluid situations, because Rebecca had posted requests for prayers for her mother on Instagram and Facebook, and one of Leslie’s friends IMed me on FB:

“Is [Leslie] going to be OK? We had no idea last I heard she was on a cruise with her daughter.” And that is true. From Rebecca’s newsletter from a little over a week ago re: touring on two weeks of cruises with Dave Koz and his band:

“It was an incredible experience! From Copenhagen, we cruised to Stockholm, Sweden; then to Tallin, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; and finally to Helsinki, Finland before heading back to Copenhagen. And this year, my mom was able to join me!

“We had a great time, shared some amazing moments together, and she became a bit of a celebrity on the boat, both for singing in the ‘So You Think You Can Jam’ talent contest and for an impromptu jam with the legend himself, Larry Graham, where she and I got to sing together while Larry Graham thumped his bass! It made Larry emotional, as it reminded him of performing with his mom when he was growing up.”

If memory serves, Monday was supposed to have been Leslie’s first day back to work and they were concerned when she didn’t show up. As it stands now, she still has a broken left hand and left wrist – her dominant side -as well as four broken ribs (3 through 6).

She’ll be having more procedures, I imagine, but the Wednesday surgery was two days earlier than I was originally told, so I take that as a good sign.

But it kind of sucks being roughly 2,879 miles away. One of my oldest friends will be in San Diego this weekend, as it turns out, and she will visit Leslie Green and Rebecca Jade. This is some small comfort.

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