I’m curious why this has always happened to me, but I’m also interested to hear other people’s experiences so I’m putting it in IMHO (though I still hope for an GQ-type answer).
There are times that it seems my mind actively blocks me from remembering names. I feel like a stroke victim or something as I can describe perfectly who the person is, what they look like, and so on. But like my 90 year old grandmother used to do, I just cannot come up with that particular word because my mind keeps substituting something else.
I’ve always had this problem, though it seems to be getting a bit worse as I get older. I try to remember the name of, say, an actor. This is the internal dialogue I get:
Conscious self: Now, who was that actor in Dirty Dancing?
My mind’s response: Dennis Quaid.
No, Dennis Quaid reminds me of that guy, but that’s not him.
No, it’s not Dennis Quaid. Now let me see, he was also in that transvestite movie about Julie Newmar . . .
NO! NOT Dennis Quaid. I know who he is, I’ve said his name a thousand times. Hell, I can visualize his smug visage right now! His 80s hair! Just shut UP and let me think for a second. First name is Irish-sounding. Pa-, Pa- . . .?
Oh for cripes sake, I can remember this, I am not admitting defeat and going on Google for something this stupid. Now let’s see, Dirty Dancing, Julie Newmar, ugly mug and 80s hair, it’ll come to me . . .