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Familiar faces
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Something twisted happens to your mind as you put on the years and embrace more birthdays than you want to count. Take me. I’m a fresh, young 51, and now I’m struggling like never before. You might be thinking, "What’s happened to that poor boy’s mind?" It’s funny how often I hear that question, but this particular mental quirk isn’t dangerous. It’s not a disease, or a disability, or an intense desire to raise French poodles for show. Let’s just say, I have no trouble recognizing people. I know that sounds odd, so I’ll say it again, "I recognize everyone I meet." I’ll meet someone new, and my brain will light up and say, "Doesn’t that face look familiar? You know this person. Sure, you do!" So, I’ll say, "Don’t I know you from somewhere? You look so familiar..." And — more often than I can count — the person will smile politely, and say, "No. We’ve never met, before." Well, that’s not what my brain says. It keeps insisting it recognizes that face, and I sit and wonder, "Why doesn’t this person remember me?" After having this happen over and over, I’ve figured out the source of the problem. As it turns out, I watched too many TV shows when I was younger. My mind sees these people and somehow it jumps back to some personality from some long-forgotten TV show or movie. When I meet you, I don’t see you. I see Walter Cronkite, Victoria Principal, or Pee Wee Herman. Everyone was right. TV does rot your brain.

Tonight was a typical night. I was eating with the family, and I was sure I’d met the waitress before. Being the brash guy I am, I said, "You look familiar. Have you worked somewhere else in town?" She looked at me and said, "Nope. I just moved here." Well, after my family had a good laugh, I figured out who she was. This young lady looked like Laverne DeFazio of "Laverne and Shirley" fame. This happens all the time. I see Meg Ryan in the grocery store, ringing up tubs of ice cream. Tom Cruise folds towels in a laundromat. I think Danny DeVito shined my shoes once. If you meet me, and I say, "Don’t I know you from somewhere? You look so familiar..." just play along. Say, "Yes. We met on Gilligan’s Island, back in 1966." I won’t believe you, but my mind will shut up, and that’s all that matters.


David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers and can be reached at