Canis Mortis Syndrome:

This is an inherited disease, characterized by the inability to remember or vocalize the name of whomever one is addressing. I first realized that the disease was actually a genetic condition when my mother was trying to yell at me when I was home from college one summer. However, she couldn't quite come up with my name. As mothers will do, she just tried again, and went down the list each time she missed:

(My brother.)

(My sisters.)

(My dad.)

(Our current dog, at the time.)

(A prior dead dog.)

(She finally got it.)

By the time she found my name, I was in hysterics, and she was sputtering. I immortalized the event by inventing a name for my inability to remember names based on my ranking in the event.

An example in my life:

My wife is usually referred to as "my wife", instead of by name.

Guess why? Because I'm prone to get the name wrong, and have learned over the years that it's safer to avoid the use of names. When I married Vicki, I didn't have so much problem. I would call her by my twin sister's name (Marjie) sometimes, but other than that, I always got her name right. This was not too bad, since Marjie was Vicki's best friend, and is not an old girlfriend.

However, much as Abram had a major change in his identity and was renamed Abraham, Vicki eventually decided that she had "grown up" or "matured" or something like that (but too subtle for the brain impaired male to comprehend). She decided that her name was now Vivien. I was informed that I was to call her by her new name, or face dire consequences. I married a girl, not some old biddy, and was not entheusiastic about the name switch, but eventually went along to avoid the dire consequences. I just begged for indulgence whenever I "missed". But all I got on those occasions was "dire consequences". So, opting for the safe route, her name began to slip into disuse, and now she is usually identified by a pronoun. Or a slight pause before her name... Vivien, that is. See, I DO know it!

Such a strategy is not recommended. It results in even less ability to call your friends by name, and a growing feeling of isolation and frustration when you can't name your coworkers and friends. It's a funny story, but the truth is a little painful. On the other hand, a cheerful admission that I have Canis Mortis Syndrome, and a chance to tell this anecdote may help divert my embarassment and excuse my fault when I confess to a new friend that "I don't remember your name, would you please remind me?"

Foolishly return to "humor" page.
Wisely retreat to home page.