A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
I met a lady in Zehrs one morning who looked familiar, however I couldn’t decide where I knew her from. (Yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition so sue me. That is a stupid grammar rule that should have been abolished years ago) I finally asked her where it was. It turned out she worked right across the parking lot at the LCBO, a store I rarely visit, two or three times a day at most. (At one time there was talk of giving me my own key.)
That happens to me a lot, not going to the liquor store, forgetting where I met someone, particularly if the person normally wears a uniform. A few years ago, another lady asked me how I had been keeping, same store as a matter of fact, and the same thing happened again, I knew I met her, but where was it?
I certainly remembered when I met her after she told me; it was a day or two before my bypass surgery in 2012 I was walking the halls at Soldiers’ Memorial and, for something to do, collapsed. She was one of the nurses who performed their medical magic on me and pulled me through.
Whether the strings on my hospital nightie were properly tied she didn’t say. But by the snickering that night, I suspect not.
Nurses have a habit of subjecting me to indignities; back in early September two nurses at Royal Vic decided to shave my curlier parts. At least they had the decency not to splash on the aftershave. Blushing is one thing, running through the halls screaming at the top of one’s lungs is quite another. I believe the video of my shearing is for sale on the Internet.
I don’t think forgetting names or where we met someone is just a seniors’ problem. We all meet dozens of people every day, a kind of ships passing in the night sort of thing, but unless something happens out of the ordinary, like having that someone at the Liquor Store ask you to take the 64-ounce bottle of Captain Morgan’s out from under your jacket, we don’t think much about it.
People also change over the years. One or two of us still look exactly as we did for our Grade 11 yearbook photo while others appear to have aged somewhat, not you, of course, but others. I meet a bunch of guys the first Friday of every month and quite frankly I am shocked whenever they hobble or are wheeled in. Lately the ladies on the waitstaff have been asking us to pay in advance since ambulance drivers won’t wait for them to turn us upside down and shake the money out.
Names can be tricky and hard to remember. Every so often a name can be even more difficult, not because it is rare or hard to pronounce, but because there are so many of them. John Smith is a great example; there must be hundreds of them in Ontario alone, maybe more, and thousands in Canada. I am sure you know at least one, probably three or four.
One John Smith went to a dance and met an absolutely stunning girl, Marie. They immediately hit it off and danced the night away. During the evening they talked about their lives and at one point he mentioned he worked at the main plant of the giant Maple Leaf Foods. Marie said she was an office manager and worked just a few blocks away. (Actually, she washed dishes in the cafeteria and told him so, but if I said that the feminists would picket my house. So rather than go through all that crap, I promoted her)
As it happened, she ‘managed’ to get the dishes done early and decided to drop by Maple Leaf Foods to ask him to come to dinner. When she got to the reception desk she asked if it was possible for her to speak to John Smith. The receptionist said she probably could but there were seven John Smiths working on that shift alone and did she know what he did. Marie said that she really didn’t know much other than he worked in the poultry division.
The receptionist said, “Oh that John Smith, he is a pheasant plucker.”
And Marie said, “Yes and a good dancer too.”
Now we wait and see if John, my esteemed editor and publisher, will run that one.