The Joy Of Recognition

Most times there is a joy in recognition. I experience this each time I call at my local hobby shop to spend money. Four of the staff greet me by name and we pass pleasantries. I am buoyed by the encounter and undoubtedly spend more money because of it.

I notice that it is also a feature of the old-time radio station that broadcasts locally. People ring in to say how much they enjoy the shows and each caller is acknowledged on air. It can be a little long-winded but I’ll bet it ensures that the callers stay tuned.

As I get older I can sometimes forget the names of people I meet – an awkward situation if I’ve just been introduced to them. There are few opportunities to ask for a repeat, and even fewer chances to get away with it if I have to introduce them in turn to other people. I can sometimes get away with it among friends if I refer to them all as ” Gertrude ” but this cannot extend to several people at once and is awkward if you are dealing with the Anglican clergy. Catholics are easier; ” Father Gertrude ” always works.

The real problem is the casual street meeting with someone from your past. I never sired children outside of marriage so there are no surprises there, but I did treat vast numbers of patients in my time as a dentist. They often remember my name but I can rarely reciprocate. Fortunately retirement keeps me out of the places where they congregate and I can peer round a corner before I enter a room.

The current mania for masks has made it easier to go unrecognised. I like to wear my evil clown one on visits to the supermarket.

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