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  • Paul Davidson

I Probably Don’t Remember Who You Are

The older you get, the more confused one becomes.

It used to be easy keeping track of the people in your life. You were 5 years old and going to pre-school and when you were out tooling around with your parents and you saw a kid that looked familiar, you could pretty much say to your little 5-year old mind that, yes, you knew little Spencer because he was the kid you hit in the face with those Lincoln Logs yesterday during play time. He was in your pre-school class. That’s why the kid looked familiar. No question about it. Easy peasy.

Then, of course, you grew to 10 or 12 and found yourself in Elementary School. Sure, your circle of acquaintances had expanded, but when you were walking into town with all your friends to go play video games and buy frozen yogurt and sit on the corner making crank calls from public telephones…and you saw someone you recognized…? Well, it was obvious where you knew them from. They were from your school. That was it. No problemo.

But as we all get older, the problem of determining how you know people who look familliar becomes extremely troublesome, combined with the onset of adult memory disease that befalls all of us. Now, when I see someone in public that looks familiar to me I can’t quite determine (at first) if I know them from my hometown and younger days, from high school, from college, from previous jobs I’ve had, from work parties and friends of friends or from (yeah, it’s sad) television. There comes a point where there’s just too many people you’ve met and too many possibilities that you’re just not quite sure how you know any of them.

Last night I saw a girl that looked familiar working at the Pottery Barn.

But how could this girl be the girl I thought I knew. She was working for NASA years ago. She was a hi-tech computer technician and had always gone from one hi-tech company to another hi-tech company. Yet here she was working at Pottery Barn? No way. Couldn’t be her. Maybe she just looked familiar to me because she sort of looked like a recent contestant on a reality show I had watched. That could easily have been it.

I casually moved around the front counter, pretending to look at some of the little trinkets on display, just so I could get a look at her name tag. If it was who I thought it was and the name confirmed such information, well, then I would be able to at least confirm that here and there, my ability to recognize people from the deep past was still somewhat intact.

When my eyes focused and I saw the name on the nametag, I realized one very important thing: If you crash a hi-tech exploring device on the surface of Mars, ruining years of valuable work at NASA’s JPL facility…you just may end up working at Pottery Barn.

Which brings me to yet another question.

If you once worked at NASA where your daily job was to develop, build, launch and track a multi-million dollar spacecraft whose sole job is to explore the Universe and you get fired and end up at Pottery Barn — just what kind of conversations do you have with your co-workers in the break room, to make yourself feel better about your recent job change?

Ex-NASA Employee: Yeah, building spaceships and exploring the Universe got old. I mean, at least here at Pottery Barn it’s a different challenge every day. Like yesterday, someone wanted that leather couch in suede. Well it doesn’t come in suede. So that, you know, is a challenge.

Employee #1: Yeah, but didn’t they pay you more at NASA than they do at Pottery Barn?

Ex-NASA Employee: Sure, they paid me more in dollars. But the perks here, like getting to take home damaged candles and wicker baskets… There’s no comparison.

Whether or not, this time, I was able to determine that this particular person was someone from a particular chapter in my past — it still doesn’t help the fact that 9 times out of 10 I really suck the big one when it comes to trying to place faces that I come in contact with.

So the next time you see me and you know you know me and you’re sure we’ve met and talked about random things at a party at some point in the last 20 or so years…be sure to remember that I have no idea where I know you from or if I simply saw you on TV and don’t hate me for that fact.

Because I yam who I yam.

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