By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
As we close out another year, now is as good a time as any to take stock of the past year and get ready for a new one with some New Year’s resolutions. Yup…time to reset the clock, start another chapter, get back on that horse, and turn another corner.
Maybe this year’s resolutions should include cutting back on all of the metaphors.
The last few days of the year have been filled with food, presents, get-togethers, and just your average, run-of-the-mill merry-making. It’s a perfect time to look back on an eventful year and make plans to make the next one even better.
I can think of one New Year’s resolution right off the bat.
With all the end of the year celebrating we’ve been doing lately, I certainly count my blessings to have as many friends as we do. My only problem is that I can only remember a handful of their names. It’s not that I don’t recognize them or don’t know where they live and what they do. It’s just trying to remember all of their names is a personal challenge. Remembering everyone’s names – that’s my New Year’s resolution.
The problem is, I had the same resolution last year, but apparently, this resolution is becoming a multi-year commitment.
It’s not like I haven’t tried. I distinctly remember looking up some memorization exercises to help me remember people’s names. One of the exercises involved creating a mental picture of a person’s name and creating some kind of odd or unique vision in my mind that will help me remember the name.
For example, let’s say I meet someone named Mark. The next thing I would do is something like this:
OK, Mark is wearing a baseball cap. Imagine that Mark is a baseball player. Mark also owns a Chihuahua.
Chihuahuas like walks in the park. “Park” rhymes with Mark. Chihuahuas are so small you could toss them like a ball. Baseball player…Chihuahua is the ball…he’s tossing the Chihuahua to third base…he’s in a park.
“Park” rhymes with…Mark. His name is Mark. Got it!
The problem with this method is every time I bump into this guy, I stare at him for about 30 seconds with a blank expression on my face as I’m trying to recreate the scene of a Chihuahua-tossing ball player in the park that will get me to remember that his name is Mark.
It then occurred to me, after watching the film “Dances with Wolves” the other day with my son Tyler who had never seen it, that Native Americans have a much better way of referring to one another. I’m no expert on Native American culture, but if there’s any truth to the movie, people in the tribe get assigned names associated with something they’ve done in the past. It’s where they get names like “Dances with Wolves,” “Stands With Fists,” and so on.
With this system, instead of Mark, my friend’s new name would be “Dog Tossing Ballplayer.”
With this new naming system, I would know everyone’s name in a split second.
I could go into a party, and see that “Owes Me Money” is sitting by the fireplace, right next to “Always Wears Black Pants.” Not wanting to disturb their conversation, I walk over to the punchbowl and say hello to “Always Changing Jobs” before “Dog Pees On My Lawn” offers me a beer. We spend the rest of the night playing party games and notice that “Still Likes Mullets” and “Too Much Meatloaf” make a great Pictionary team.
Somehow, I doubt that I’d be invited to too many parties next year if I tried this new naming scheme.
Ah well. I’ll just have to try and remember their names. Until then, here’s wishing you a great New Year with much prosperity for you and your family.
Eats Many Donuts (end)
Wayne Chan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.