Article Date: 9/1/2011

He Remembered Too Late
lessons learned

He Remembered Too Late

Memory can be a tricky thing, especially where names are concerned.

Jack Runninger, O.D.

A country preacher's bicycle had been stolen. After much thought he came up with a way to get it back.

“I'll preach on the Ten Commandments next Sunday,” he said to himself. “When I get to ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ I'll bear down hard, and the thief might have a guilty conscience and return my bike.”

But when he got to “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” he remembered where he had left his bicycle.

My memory is better than the preacher's. I never forget a face. Only problem is that I never can remember the name that goes with that face. That was always an issue when I was in practice.

Making a good impression

Mrs. Henderson was a newcomer to Rome, Ga., the wife of the general manager of a large company here in town. She had been referred to me, and I was anxious to make a good impression. After completing the exam, I walked her to the door, just as my friend J.B. Dodd, president of a local bank, was coming in.

What a great opportunity to impress her when I introduce her to one of the big wheels in town, and she sees that he is a patient of mine, I thought.

“J.B.,” I said, “I'd like for you to meet a very nice new citizen of Rome, Jean Henson.”

Now, if you were paying attention, you may have noted from a previous paragraph that the woman's name was not Henson, it was Henderson. (Incidentally, while the story is true, the names have been changed, not to protect the innocent, but because I can't recall what her real name was.) Anyway, that's the last I ever saw of Mrs. Henson—Henderson.

The most important sound in the English language to anyone is his or her own name. If you don't remember it, he or she feels they are not important to you.

What's her name

A long time ago I read in Reader's Digest one of the best illustrations of trying everything to recall a name. A lady ran into an acquaintance on the street one day, and struck up a conversation with her. She knew her well, but couldn't remember her name or who she was. In the course of the conversation, the lady mentioned her brother.

“Oh, yes, your dear brother,” she said. “What is he doing now?” she asked, hoping this might give her a clue as to the lady's identity.

“He's still president of the United States,” the lady answered. She was Calvin Coolidge's sister.

I thought that story was right cute, so I sent it to Dear Abby. She published it and used my name. A couple of week's later another letter appeared in her column, which read:

“Calvin Coolidge didn't have a sister!!”


ILLUSTRATION BY AMY WUMMER

Tall like Lincoln

I've tried a lot of different methods to solve my name memory problem, but unfortunately none of them seemed to work. For example, many years ago I never could remember John Massey's name. So I finally decided to try the association method.

“He is tall, like Abraham Lincoln,” I said to myself. “And Raymond Massey usually plays the part of Lincoln in movies. So I'll think Lincoln when I see him, which will remind me his name is Massey.” I saw him at a party a few years later, and confessed to him how I now remembered his name.

“I wondered why you always called me ‘Raymond,’” he laughed. OM


JACK RUNNINGER, OUR CONSULTING EDITOR, LIVES IN ROME, GA. HE'S ALSO A PAST EDITOR OF OM. CONTACT HIM AT RUNNINGERJ@COMCAST.NET

Optometric Management, Issue: September 2011