Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone knew your name?

Published 6:20 pm Thursday, April 15, 2021

“You have got to be the goobiest person who has ever lived on earth.”

This description of me would be less impactful had it not come from the person who probably knows me best in the world, my wife Ginny.

Other husbands might have been hurt, but as Ginny says, “Wyatt is unembarrassable,” so I just shrugged it off.

Email newsletter signup

I think goober is too tough. Geeky is a more fitting description.
What had I done to deserve such a claim? I simply came downstairs with a small, discreet name tag on my shirt.

My friends are more diplomatic. They just ask me why I am wearing a name tag. My answer is simple, “To reduce anxiety in the world and to help people out.”

I hate seeing someone and not being able to remember their name. It’s so embarrassing (to contradict my wife.) I don’t want to cause that stress in anyone, so I wear a name tag.

Hopefully, this will catch on and start a global movement of name tag wearing and no one will ever have to face the stress of not remembering a name again.

The worst is when someone remembers your name and you can’t remember theirs. This is made worse when the person puts great emphasis on his accomplishment. “Wyatt!! How are you!? Good to see you again.”

At this point, you have two options. You can make an educated guess at the person’s name, which usually fails and creates more awkwardness and embarrassment. Or you can just say something like, “Oh hey! So great to see you  again, How are you doing!?”

If I don’t remember a name, I try to be especially emphatic in the joy of my greeting in the hopes that I can offset the down side of my memory failure. But I never feel that works. Everybody, it seems, knows when they remember your name and you don’t.

Perhaps this is worse for me because I publish a personal column every week. It’s not a fair fight. I am at a huge disadvantage.

Imagine a world in which everyone wore a very discreet subtle name tag. You would never have to worry about forgetting a name again in your life. This is my goal.
I tried every type of name tag: pins, magnets, clips. I even ordered a name tag that resembled a piece of engraved jewelry.

The hands down winner was a simple sticky tag made for clothes labels. They stay on forever, even through multiple washings, and cost practically nothing. Easy to order on the Internet.

After wearing my name tags a while, I noticed another very nice benefit. Cashiers and random people I barely interacted with started calling me by name. How cool is that? It’s a great feeling! Everybody knows my name. A world in which we can all call everybody by their first name is a better, happier world.

I realize my global dream is unlikely to come to fruition. That’s OK. My mother and I were always big Don Quixote fans.

Friends from way back remember when I tried to get the Esperanto movement going in Jackson 30 years ago. I ordered books and tried to start a club. I think the World Esperanto Congress, which has been held for 113 straight years, is as close to a geek convention as you can come.

Most readers may laugh, but on the deck of the Starship Enterprise, they will be speaking Espe

ranto. It’s just a matter of time.
Esperanto is an artificial language created  130 years ago by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof. Zamenhof wanted to create a logical, super easy-to-learn language the whole world could learn as a second language, allowing everyone in the world to be able to communicate.

  Imagine that you could travel anywhere in the world and be able to communicate because everybody knew Esperanto.
It takes one-tenth as much time to learn Esperanto as any other language. There is no gender and simple verb tenses.

Once you learn a root word, you can create 50 additional words just by applying standard prefixes and suffixes. It’s brilliant. It’s logical. It will create a better world.

Unfortunately Esperanto flopped. It never caught on just like my name tag movement will probably not go viral.
Like America converting to the metric system and having a universal set of nuts and bolts, good ideas often fail to make it.
That being said, there are 100,000 Esperanto speakers worldwide and10,000,000 people have studied it.

About 10,000 books have been translated into Esperanto, including the Bible. Google translate includes Esperanto as one of their languages.

Yet another geeky aspect of my personality is my fascination with maxims. You know, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” I invented a game called maxim. I say a maxim, you say a maxim and whoever runs out of maxims first, loses.

You can play with unlimited players and nothing is needed but your brain.
In my geeky world, “maxims” would be a required course in school. Maxims are encapsulated wisdom that have stood the test of time.

If you know every maxim in the world, you have acquired all human wisdom. (By the way, I am undefeated in the game “maxim.”)
One day, I had the whole family around the dinner table when the kids were in grade school. It was me versus the entire family in a game of maxim. It took an hour, but the family was stumped.

They had run out of wisdom. I counted down from 30 to declare myself as the winner.
At the very last moment, Ginny looked at me with a calm, serene smile and said, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

There was a long pause and then I said, “Was it really that easy?” Ginny replied, “Yep. Pretty much.”
As I write this, April is beginning, my favorite month. Mississippi is a paradise in April. It is the month of Easter and everything is being renewed. Lots of joy.
My whole family is home for Easter. I plan to take a family photo in front of our magnificently blooming azalea bushes. Such a blessing.
Raising children is such a labor of love. Sometimes I didn’t think I was ever going to get to the other side. But we did.

And although life is never perfect, there is so much to be grateful for. We all love each other. Every one of us is moving forward in our lives. Thank God, we are all believers, which to me is the most important thing. We are healthy.
Thank God for Colossians 3, verse 21. “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Why would anyone want anything more?

Wyatt Emmerich is president of Emmerich Newspapers and publisher of the Northside Sun.