“Do you know who I am?” asked a somewhat familiar guy I knew I had never met before.
“No.” I said honestly. And then I walked away.
My thought was, anyone who wanted that kind of recognition from someone they didn’t know either had his own fan club or a warrant out for his arrest.
The day this happened, we were at a family funeral and I was a little surprised that I didn’t know who the guy was. By the time you’re in your late 40s, you figure you’ve met most of your not-too-distant relatives ... usually at a wedding or funeral. Of course, there are some relatives you know you’ve never met at all … or just don’t remember meeting. They either live too far away, or are estranged from the family, or are simply just strange.
But eventually you do meet these other relatives – or re-meet them - and when that happens, you’re never sure exactly how to respond. Sometimes they will acknowledge that you’ve never met, and then you introduce yourselves and move on to the buffet. Sometimes they say, “Good to see you again,” and then you will try to pretend as though you’ve met them before.
And sometimes they walk up to you and say, “Do you know who I am?” and then you either say “yes,” “no,” or you guess and say, “Justin Bieber?”
At the next funeral we both attended, he came over as though we were old friends, held out his hand, shook mine, and again demanded, “Do you know who I am?”
Having asked my mother who he was at the first funeral, I did actually know who the guy was when he asked me the same question at the second funeral. And based on his resemblance to some other family members whom I did in fact know, I could have probably guessed who he was, anyway.
But I didn’t.
“No,” I said again. And turned to walk away.
“Wait,” he said, stopping me this time.
“Are you sure?” he asked, less confidently.
“Yes,” I declared. “I have no idea who you are.”
THEN I walked away.
I knew it was driving him crazy that I wasn’t playing his game. But I had more important things to do ... like get on line at the buffet.
When I was asked the same question at the third funeral, I finally cracked.
“YES. I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! YOU’RE COUSIN SAM!” I bellowed.
“Listen, Sam. Let me give you some advice,” I finally said, taking him off to the side. “Don’t ask people if they know who you are. It really puts them on the spot. Just walk up and say, ‘Hi. Not sure if you remember me, I’m Cousin Sam.’ I guarantee they will appreciate the reintroduction!”
Page 2 of 2 - “You know,” he said. “That’s a good idea. I’ll do that.”
I smiled. On this cold, blustery day as we laid our loved one to rest, I felt a moment of peace and good will toward all.
“Can I ask you a question though?” Sam wondered.
“Sure?” I smiled.
“Do I know you?”
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