Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Old Name Game

Author and Comedian Mike Buzzelli

My friend Brian and I went to an art exhibit opening this week. We were out being the bon vivants of 'Burgh Vivant, a local culture website where we discuss theater, art, music and film in Pittsburgh. I get to see plays and write reviews about them. It’s nice work if you can get it.

I know that going to an art gallery exhibit sounds hoity-toity, but it was really about trying to drink free booze and look at paintings of naked people.

At one point, someone came up to me and started chatting. After a few minutes, Brian wandered away. When I circled back to him, he jokingly said, “Who’s your friend?”

For the record, he was joking, because he said it like Leslie Ann Warren’s gun moll in “Victor/Victoria.” But, like Ms. Scarlet, I didn’t have a “Clue.” I told him, “I don’t remember his name.”

I’m not good with names and faces, which is odd because I have both a name and a face.

Usually, when I’m hanging out with friends I have to prep them. I have a series of hand signals my friends are supposed to memorize, like a baseball coach.

When I clasp my hands together it’s my friends’ signal to introduce each other. When I tug on my ear it means it’s time to leave: It’s the old Carol-Burnett-I’m-So-Glad-We-Had-This-Time-Together signal. When I put my hand to my nose, it means you’ve followed instructions perfectly; that one is from charades. Sometimes, it just means I have the sniffles.

I have a backup plan for when I forget to brief someone about the hand gestures. I’m going to share this with you in case you have a similar problem. I’ll say, “I’m off to the men’s room. Introduce yourselves.”

You can only pull that one once or twice a night before you risk getting a speech about your prostate health. At a party with a bunch of medical professionals, I was told to drink more cranberry juice.

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(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns from the Observer-Reporter, can be found here:

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