Some of my readers should be writing books!

I just have to direct your attention to one of the comments left on my blog entry At Last I Have a Diagnosis.  Scroll down to comment #26, by “struggler.”  This man’s story about his traumatic experience with prosopagnosia has got to be the damned funniest thing you’ll ever read. 

There’s got to be a great book here, starring a hero with this most embarrassing affliction…

16 replies
  1. wordworker
    wordworker says:

    Oh, Tess! That is hilarious. I missed it the first time around. I don’t feel so bad now about having this problem. I tell my husband there are really only four basic ‘face templates’ in the world. I have named them after people we both know as an example so he knows what I’m talking about. He gets irritated when we meet someone and I say, “He looks like Glen.” Glen is my husband’s friend and a “basic face template”. The other day we were watching a movie that featured three men who all belonged to the same face template. I couldn’t keep up with who did or said what. It was hopeless. Finally, I said, “Honey, do you know who all these guys look like?”
    He just shook his head and sighed, “Yeah, I know. They all look like Glen.”

  2. NewMexicanAnn
    NewMexicanAnn says:

    Tess: Yep! Your readers are a pretty literate, intelligent bunch! I wonder if it’s a reflection of you somehow.

    struggler: Oh, my! Sorry to hear you got hurt and I’m glad you managed to keep your clients. Yikes! I don’t have the problem to a severe degree like that, but once in a while, it really won’t dawn on me who’s who. In those cases, I am my genuine friendly self and apologize for not being good with names/faces. I think people appreciate the honesty. But if I had it to a severe degree, I’d probably become expert at fishing for clues. You should come up with your own personal game called “20 Questions to Figure Out Who this ***** Person Is”. 🙂

    Want to know something funny? Maybe some of you could relate to this: If I call someone that I call on a semi-regular to regular basis, I hardly ever complete a call to a wrong number. I’ll listen to the number tones as I dial and if I accidentally punch in a wrong number, I’ll know because it won’t sound right. Each phone number makes its own little song, if you think about it.

  3. struggler
    struggler says:

    You’ve read about one of my experiences that happened some 20 years ago, now let me tell you something that happened this WEEK, and in a kind of darker way is just as funny. I must change the names of the two women concerned, as will become apparent.

    First can I mention that I am working on my first novel (hence the struggling writer nickname), and it is built around the true story of a woman I know who has been horrifically abused in a number of different ways throughout her life. Trust me : she’s been to hell and back. Anyway let me call her ‘Jane’ – I got a text on my cellphone from her on Monday, basically telling me that she’s OK but she’s been on Prozac for several months, and asked how I was getting on with the book. I texted her back (she lives about 300 miles away) and my script went pretty much like this :-

    “Hi Jane, hope you and the children are OK. Just to let you know that I may need to see you again to run through some the events that led to your suicide attempts, and to ask you if you can help me track down any of the men who sexually assaulted you”.

    Prosopagnosia had struck again.

    About a half-hour later I received a text from Jane, but I was in for a bit of a jolt. She said, “WHAT THE F**K ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???”

    Which was when it dawned on me. Yes, I have more than one friend in my cellphone address book called Jane, and yes, I got them the wrong way round. The original message was from a very dear friend who is single, has never had children but I knew to have been going through some emotional problems in recent years; she hardly ever calls me but the trouble is, when I saw the word ‘Prozac’ I assumed it to be my other friend Jane, the central character of my book (Caller ID for her is Jane F but I forgot that, of course) and replied in kind.

    I’m sure that this kind of thing must have happened to many people before – for example, a man sends a text to his girlfriend thanking her for the fantastic night of passion they shared hours before, only to find that he sent it to his wife by mistake – who’s as frigid as an eskimo’s mother-in-law.

    Seems like I’m a fully paid-up member of the mobile-prosopagnosia society!

  4. NewMexicanAnn
    NewMexicanAnn says:

    Hey, struggler! I think I have an idea for you, although it might end up not being practical. How about for everyone in your cell phone address book, you write their names, phone numbers, and some of the most important personal data that you think you can use so you don’t get folks mixed up. Keep it on computer so you can print out a copy whenever you need it and because if it’s on computer, it’s easier to change the data as needed.

    The only impractical things that are apparent are that you’d have to spend a lot of time typing the stuff to begin with and a lot of time trying to update it. There’s also the fact that it might be awkward carrying a sheet of paper wherever you needed it and remembering to carry that paper, too.

    Just a thought.

  5. Corinna
    Corinna says:

    I guess I’m lucky that I don’t have that problem, I do remember people’s faces. It’s only that (being a mother of two young kids) I hardly ever remember their names, just who’s mother or father they are… But how can you probably address someone who you have already known for years “Daniel’s mom” or “Sebastian’s dad”?

    So long,

  6. JanetK
    JanetK says:

    Oh, my. Did NOT see that one coming, Struggler. You have my sympathies — and my laughter. Thanks for pointing us to his entry, Tess. Classic stuff.

  7. JT Ellison
    JT Ellison says:

    Okay, I have a question. Am I the only one who gets the faces of my characters confused with real people?
    RE: the mobile incident — my best friend’s name is Linda. My editor’s name is Linda. My phone is set up alpha with first names. I just know one of these days I’m going to click on the L and when the phone is answered, I’ll say something horrible, like Yo’ girl, what up? (Because I like to think I’m cool) and it will be my editor and not my best friend.
    Struggler, you’re making my life complete today. Thanks!

  8. Cynbagley
    Cynbagley says:

    I have the problem where I recognize a face, wave, and then realize that it was not who I thought it was… probably Glen???

    I agree there are only a few basic templates and sometimes it is hard to recogize the subtle differences. Also, it has become harder for me with names and faces since I was on cytoxan and prednisone. So I think part of my problems in this area come with the side-effects.

    When I was in the middle of taking I.V. cytoxan every 4 weeks for a year, I couldn’t recognize my nephews. My husband had to follow me around and tell me who I was talking to. 🙂

  9. NewMexicanAnn
    NewMexicanAnn says:

    Well, BA, Tess gets us thinking and feeling, which is a VERY good thing for a writer to do.

  10. Charissa
    Charissa says:

    Struggler – I have a friend who almost every day calls me a different name. “Courtney,” “Fiona,” who knows? She just always mixes me up, it is quite a laugh though 🙂 It’s a shame that you got hurt because of it, ouch!

    I’m fairly good with remembering names, but I’ve noticed since I got a job and I see so many faces, I’ll recognise, and think ‘Oh my god, I know her – whats her name?’ But before I got my job I didn’t see quite so many people I *needed* to remember!

    – Chrissy

  11. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    BA-I think this may have been Tess’ plan all along,but she wanted us to figure it out for ourselves
    Struggler-most people wouldn’t think of being an insurance agent as a hazardous job,but I guess one never knows….your adventure sounded like something out of Laurel & Hardy

  12. Craig
    Craig says:

    I’ve learned the hard way never never never read more than one mystery/suspense novel at a time. I have at least one book going at home and one I leave at work for lunch break. Last year I had two mysteries going at once and was amazed to find that one of the characters was alive and walking around in one novel when I thought he had been killed off in the other. No, Tess, it wasn’t one of your books.

  13. Gabriele
    Gabriele says:

    Lol Tess, not only should some of your readers write books, they actually do. I bet Struggler isn’t the only one.

    C’me on, fess up, who else has manuscripts lurking in the computer files?

    I do. An epic historical fiction trilogy I have yet to finish. 🙂

  14. Tess
    Tess says:

    A great many people who visit my blog are published writers or folks who are working on a novel. That’s why I like to blog pretty much exclusively on the writing biz — because I think we’re all interested in the same issues.

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