I’m fighting it. I truly am. But I feel it creeping in on me. In a business where some of the biggest assholes have the most influence, you can’t afford to blow off or be rude to anyone you meet at a show. The plain fact remains that sometimes, I just don’t recognize you. I wish I did, but during a performance, while everyone’s watching the two people on the stage, we divide our attention between however many people are in the crowd. All the while, they’re listening to our stories, getting to know us, and getting more and more familiar with our faces. I really wish we could meet everyone, hang out, make new friends, and get to know everyone equally well, but it’s just not possible in the span of a night.
We try our best to recognize people that have come to shows, but every now and then, we meet someone who’s hugging or high fiving like we’re old high school chums, and I haven’t the slightest idea who they are. Or worse yet, I think they’re someone else. As I said earlier, we can’t afford to blow off anyone, so my automatic response is to play along with vague acknowledgements, often substituting names with “dude” or “man” (which I tend to do even if I’ve known you my whole life), hoping that eventually a memory will dislodge. The problem is that this is the foundation of what I’ve always thought of as a phony douchebag. Just nodding along and “uh-huh”ing with a big shit-eating grin, all the while oblivious to who they’re even talking to.
And I see no end in sight. Either my memory needs to improve (which anyone that knows me knows that ain’t happenin’), or I’m just going to start being honest with people, saying “Listen, I’m sorry, but I don’t remember you at all.” Or maybe I’m just destined for phony douchebaggery. Seems to be part of the nature of the business.
I’ll tell you what. If you’re talking to me, and I look lost or confused (more so than usual), just give me a hug and say “It’s okay. You don’t recognize me do you?” Then introduce yourself. If I keep pretending, punch me in the balls and say “Quit being a phony douchebag.” That aughtta help.