I don't know your god damn name. I know all of your friends' names, I know all of your sorority sisters' names, and I even know some of your sorority sisters' friends' names, but to me, you are a total enigma. I know we sat together during that weekend seminar, joked around about life and even went out to get frozen yogurt, but at no point did I ever catch a wisp of your name.
By now, as a senior, I guess I should know it. We met freshman year, because at the time, you were best friends with a girl three floors below me. I know you expected us to hit it off because you kept coming over to see her, but I didn't even know her name. Maybe I should have asked you your name that first semester, but I forgot you existed when you stopped coming to visit. That was when you and she split ways. You told me about the break-up sophomore year when we saw each other at the Collegetown clean-up.
"She's such a bitch," you said. But I didn't really pay attention. Not because I didn't agree with you, but because while you were telling me how your friendship had gone sour, I was trying to figure out who in the hell you were and, of course, what to call you.
Sometimes I forget I even know you. When I see you at the bars and you wave, I often think maybe you're talking to someone else. Even when you give me that "fake cheek-touch followed by kiss-sound" good-bye as you're leaving, I find myself stunned, jogging my memory to figure out why you're touching me. You must think we're like best friends.
When I was in a fraternity, you used to get invited to all of my crush parties. You had a great time at my house and I'm glad you did, but you weren't there because of me. I didn't invite you. How could I have? If I had written your crush invitation, it would have been addressed to: "The Chick, with the eyes, who always hangs out here." Don't get me wrong, I would have invited you, I like you, you're great, you even changed my life.
You see, you once told me that I was a funny guy, and that's what convinced me to pursue writing a column. I love writing a column, and since it was practically your idea, I wanted to write you a thank-you note. But can you guess why I never sent it to you?
Believe me, I've tried to figure it out. You know how you're always hanging out at the apartment of my friends, Ryan, Rob and Jeremy? Well, the last time you were there I pulled them aside for help ... and they didn't know who you were either. To be honest, I don't think anyone on this campus knows. I've been taking a survey over the last few weeks, and while all of the data isn't in yet, I'm almost 90 percent sure there isn't a soul in upstate New York who has any idea what your name is.
Maybe you should start wearing embroidered shirts. I'll even make it hip by wearing a "Hello, My Name is
" sticker wherever I go. If everyone wore them it wouldn't be so awkward to have you around, and think how many people would stop calling you, "hey," "you," or "yo."
Because of you, I realized that "Darlin'" is an acceptable substitution for someone's actual, birth-given name.
I've called you darlin' since first semester junior year, and you took to it very well. Since then, I've annexed many people under the "darlin' pseudonym," including friends of my camp-friends, my second cousins, my masseuse, people I've met at comic book conventions, and female pets belonging to strangers. Without you, I'd still be taking up some of my precious brain space trying to remember their names. Again, I'd love to send you a thank-you card.
Don't be angry that I don't know your name; I met a lot of people freshman year. I met even more people sophomore and junior year, and now, in my last year at college I have collected so many acquaintances with names that I always forget yours. Granted ... yours is the only one I don't know, but look on the bright side, you know my name!
Admittedly, I am curious as to how you know my name. I assume you asked around or studied the 1998 freshman face book or stole a pair of my nametaped underwear. But if that were the case, why would you think I'd have any clue about your name, and thus be able to introduce you to my friends?
Every time I'm with someone and I see you, you ask me quite bluntly, "Why don't you introduce me to your friend?"
Isn't it obvious?
To you I say, "This is my friend, Geoff," but to Geoff I say, "This is my friend ___," and then throw my hands in the air begging for enlightenment. You never insert your identity, and smiling doesn't help the situation. I'm not joking around; I can't finish the sentence, and it makes the moment even worse when you say, "Oh, Bradley Adam Werner, you're such a kidder, nice to meet you Geoff," and walk off. Then Geoff doesn't know your god damn name either.
Did your parents have sex on the microwave or something? What the heck is wrong with you? In the future I suggest you make your own introductions and during senior week, let everyone sign your yearbook right next to your picture. That way, none of your friends' inscriptions begin the same way this column did.