People come and people go. Some are famous, some are helpful, some can make a difference in your life. Others, well, maybe not so much. But, ALL these people have one thing in common – your engineer can’t remember any of their names!
How can it be that a brain that can remember something as abstract as pi to 26 significant figures can’t remember a person’s name for 10 seconds, unless his life depends upon it? Even if it does depend on it, the name will still go within 15 minutes after the end of the event at which he met this critically important new person. He did it with your mother, remember! And no one – yes no one – is more important to your engineer than you are (although that may seem hard to believe at times, we know!)
Regular people start off with the assumption that any new person they meet has the possibility of being useful at some point in his or her life. Since there might be value, they pay attention to the new person.
As usual, your engineer has an entirely different approach!
To your engineer, there are three kinds of people in the world.
- Too stupid to ever have the slightest possibility of adding value to your engineer. Remember that knowledge is key, and that being right is all that matters to your engineer. Someone who can’t think at his speed isn’t going to improve his lot in life, and he knows it! Your engineer just thinks this is the largest group of people he meets!
- Too popular to ever like an engineer! Your engineer knows that he’s not liked by much of the populace, so what’s the point in trying! Might as well save his breath! The rest of the world KNOWS this is the largest group!
- Other engineers! Eureka! They already know about this limitation of the engineering mind. So they have a secret method developed over years. Put two engineers together and each will find a way to include their own name into their stories at least three times during each of the first three meetings they have together. After 9 repeats, even your engineer has a better than 50-50 chance of getting the name right.
There’s simply no doubt that it was an engineer who invented business cards. Wonderful problem solving. Prior to this invention, everyone would write on some piece of paper the person’s name and number, plus some useful personal information to facilitate a better conversation the next meeting. But your engineer would lose the paper.
Cards? Just the right size to fit in the wallet. Now that’s practical!
Turns out your engineer still has to write personal information on the back. He remembers that the discussion he just left touched on marriage and golf, and that one was in the way of the other in the contact’s mind. Your engineer, of course, can’t remember which of these was the non-problemic issue, so he writes both the words “golf” and “marriage” on the back. Nothing more.
It may surprise you, but this is a big step forward for your engineer! The next time he gets together with this contact he has a 50-50 chance of not starting the conversation by inserting his foot in his mouth! He’s ecstatic! His usual historical rate is about 25% success, so he’s doubled his odds!
And when he DOES put his foot in his mouth? Your engineer has perfected the confused look of the toddler above! His approach, along the lines of “With everything else going on in my life, how could you even think I would remember who you are?”, is another in the endless list of strategies your engineer employs to keep the world at a safe distance from the rest of his scintillating personality!
Hey! It works well, doesn’t it!