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Name Game

September 9, 2019

There’s a nice guy at church that I have said hello to for years. It is far too late in the game to ask his name, and I’m so bad at describing people that none of my church friends can picture him (he’s, you know, average height, brownish hair, wears glasses-wait, maybe not). It’s really bothered me, because I pride myself on knowing all of our members’ names. I long for the days of our old pictorial directories. As newbies, we used to come home from services and pore over all the pictures, resulting in weekly “eureka” moments (Oh, so THAT’s Edna Boyer! NOT Carol Gehlhaus!)

Christ’s at some point decided to stop hiring the photography studio that would come to church, take our photos, then pressure us to buy them (in 8"X10” glossy form and wallet-size too!) As I never cared for our official family pix (at least one of the kids always had eyes closed, or mouth agape, or hair disordered), I resisted temptation, but I understood that the big sales pitch bugged people. So the church went to just a printed listing of names, addresses and phone numbers, which doesn’t offer a clue about the looks of folks. Every few years, a congregant with a decent camera would be asked to take all of our photos, for a directory that then never materialized.

Well, today I succeeded at last in identifying Mystery Man. Having eliminated 90% of the names in the book, and having a vague memory of his first name beginning with “R,” I started checking out all the “R” names from the directory on Facebook. Lo and behold, there he was! With a photo to prove I had the right guy! Now that my quest is over, I’m not sure what I will do with all the hours I was spending on my hunt for his I.D. But it is a relief to know. Can’t wait for next Sunday, when I can run up to him and greet him by name! Hope he shows up!

Maybe I’m super sensitive to being called by the right name because people so often get mine wrong. A former employer used to call me Elaine (and I didn’t want to embarrass him by correcting him, so I would answer to it, which didn’t help at all). As for “Seyfried”-forget it! The odds of pronouncing it properly are extremely poor.

And another thing, while we’re on the subject—I really hate it when people forget they have already met me SEVERAL times. Again, do I ever inform them of their error? Nope, I just tell them how glad I am to meet them (again). Now, I know I’m not a celeb, but after the fourth or fifth intro you’d think I would ring a bell, right?

Bottom line, we each yearn to be known (it’s a fundamental need). So let’s all really try to get each other’s names straight! If we can do that, world peace is all but guaranteed!! 

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    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: www.eliseseyfried.com or email me at eliseseyf@gmail.com.