This happens to me every once in a while. I’m in the grocery store or standing in the movie’s concession line and come face-to-face with someone I know and draw a complete and utter blank on his name.

I say something like,  Howyadoin? How long ‘sit been? Yeah, you haven’t changed one bit. Yeah, sure. Ha. Ha. Still up to the same thing?  I’m thinking, Whaaat? How do I know you? What in the hell do we have in common? C’mon, gimme me a clue!

We finally come to the end, “Nice seeing you again, take care.”

Awkward. But not anywhere near as awkward as this.

He’s standing in the foyer of a hotel in Manchester, when he spots a distinguished looking woman whom he knows that he has met, though he can’t remember her name. As she walks toward him, she says hello.

He returns the greeting and as he does he vaguely recalls that she has a brother. Hoping for a clue, he asks,

“Well — So how is your brother?”

“Oh, he’s just fine,” she replies.

“Good to hear,” he says. “And is he still in the same job?”

“Oh, yes,” she answers. “He’s still the King.”

(Sir Thomas Beecham, British conductor and wit, 1879 –1961)

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