Dear Mother Phawker,
I’m an old busy lady who has lived in Philadelphia for about a 100 years. I’ve booked bands, written about them, and worked a billion other jobs, all of which put me in direct contact with the general public and a host of new
faces on a daily basis. Because my look is unique, they remember me, and I sadly, do not remember them. (All dudes in Philly indie bands tend to look alike, and since there are not as many women in the scene, we tend to stand out more). The years of memorizing names, faces, bands, and tons of indie ephemera have caused my brain to act like a sieve, randomly losing important bits of information and keeping the stuff I don’t need, like the names of various Duran Duran side projects. This leads to lots of embarrassing situations where I run into people and I don’t remember their names, their faces, or where I should know them from — even sometimes immediately after their band finishes a set at one of my shows! I always smile and say hello to anyone who does the same to me, but I don’t want to snub anyone (unless they deserve it). Beyond saying, “I’m sorry, I have Alzheimer’s, where do I know you from again,” what’s the best way to handle this situation?
Who Are You Again?
Dear Totally NOT Sara Sherr,
While it’s totally understandable that you wouldn’t remember the names and
faces of every Tom, Dick and Hairy that crosses your path, the fact that it
actually bothers you is a sure sign that you’re a classy broad. So, kudos
As a certain enfant terrible of the Philly blog scene once told me, “It’s
exhausting having to know everyone.” At first I thought that sounded kind of
hipper-than-thou and rude, but when you think about it, he’s right — it’s
hardly reasonable to expect anyone to remember everyone they’ve met. And it
should be even less an expectation when you literally meet the public for a
It’s a pretty sure bet that the musicians, scenesters and assorted
hangers-on know you probably don’t remember them, and chances are they
don’t mind. After all, it’s probably more important that they know who you
are, especially if you’re in a position to get their band in front of an
So don’t beat yourself up, mameleh. As in most cases, Mother feels honesty
and good manners are the best way to go. Next time someone greets you, says
howdy and gives you that expectant look, just say “Hi!” in return. And if
you’re really curious, you can always just say, “Tell me your name again?”
Then again, you could do what I do, and just take to calling everyone
“baby,” “love,” or “dickhead,” and avoid the whole name thing entirely.
Works for me!
Trying to place the name,
(We are not your mother. Your mother is at home, watching “Deal or No Deal.” Sure, you could call and ask her, but that will just turn into a whole “thing,” what with the shouting and the running and the exploding and the crying. Instead, ASK MOTHER PHAWKER. Besides, your mom needs a break. Why do you think they sent you to college in the first place? And really, haven’t you asked her enough stupid questions over the years? Instead, direct all I-need-a-hug, it-hurts-when-I-pee and other how-to-deal inquiries to Mother Phawker at Mother@phawker.com. She loves you no matter what.)