|Artist's rendering of the TV American Club|
The green design makes use of a refurbished
oil refinery tank that blends in
seamlessly with the existing environment.
He'll say something along the lines of "Wow that kid's a fast runner." Then maybe I'll find some way to compliment him by saying something like, "Hey that was a good idea. I wish I had brought a book to read too." After that we part ways and usually never cross paths again for at least six months.
When we do meet, it's usually at the convenience store. He runs a small English language school and spends a lot of time making copies of classroom handouts on the corner convenience store's xerox machine. We met each other there just the other day. As I was entering the store, he was walking out the door with one of his sons and gave me a big hello, enunciating every syllable of my name extra loud and clear (which I chalk up to a side effect of his profession).
Then it was my turn to return the greeting but for the life of me I just could not remember his name. The words, "How ya doing?" had just came out of my mouth when I suddenly realized his name had totally escaped me. In a panic I quickly added "youse" while pointing my wagging index finger in their direction. I guess so they would know who I meant by "youse."
Of course, I didn't have to add any wordy embellishments to my passing salutation, but unfortunately I did. I said, "How ya doin' youse?" I couldn't believe it, "YOUSE!" That's not even English, as my fourth grade teacher pointed out time and time again. Where did that come from?
If only I had tacked on "guys" to the end of the sentence. Then it would have come out, "How ya doin' youse guys?" At least that might have sounded like I was doing a Tony Soprano impression for some odd reason but all I managed to blurt out was "youse" and swirl Mr. Pointer around in the air.
I just couldn't believe what I was hearing coming out of my mouth. "Youse!" What an idiot I am, I thought. I just kept walking and didn't dare look back as I desperately searched my internal memory bank for a hint of his name. I don't know exactly what I would have done if I had come up with it anyway. Maybe I would have stuck my head out the door and shouted, "Youse Smiths!" or something. I'm glad I never did remember because that's probably exactly what I would have done and that would have been even more mortifying.
About a week has gone by and I completely forgot about the little embarrassing incident until today. This morning I was walking along the street where my fellow American resides. His house is hard to miss. It's the one with the big shingle out front advertising the name of his tiny school.
|The real sign is much snazzier.|
"The Hughes Academy!" I had his name pegged right all along!! Maybe it was just a stroke of luck, or perhaps God reached into the recesses of my memory and pulled the name out of the back of some forgotten mental file cabinet for me. Whatever it was, I managed to make the right call. Even though calling him by his last name alone no doubt came across as vaguely gym teacherish (like: "How ya doin' Hughes. Nice throw, now go hit the showers."), it probably sounded okay otherwise.
I'll never forget his name again. I have that wonderful ability to learn from my mistakes. It's one of the qualities that I believe will make me an outstanding vice to the next president of the future Temple Valley American Club (I'll just call him Mr. President then). If you look back on the careers of some of the world's greatest leaders you'll find that it's a quality that is well, universal. You can count on it and so can you Hughes.
Reader, Anonymous, asks:
“Is this true?”
The author responds:
Is Anonymous your real name? I can't believe you would doubt the veracity of this article and question the integrity of a trusted institution like The Temple Valley Times. Okay it's 80-85% true, more or less. I had to change some story elements to protect the innocent (me). His name isn't Hughes and he wasn't with his son and I didn't say "How ya doin' youse?" I did plum forget his name though. He was wearing a shirt bearing the image of a winged creature and I said, "How ya doin' [name of bird]?" and pointed to the picture emblazoned across his chest. I thought that was just as stupid as saying "Youse." It's kind of like calling someone wearing a red shirt, Red. Anyway I called him by the name of the bird imprinted on his shirt and felt pretty silly about it. Sometime later I was walking down the street where he lived and spied a sign saying "[Bird name]
and realized that said bird moniker really was his name. English School"
I didn't want the guy to Google his name, find this post, and confirm the fact that I'm an idiot so I concealed key parts of the story in other words. Now the cat (or bird) is out of the bag.