Maundy Thursday, and What’s in a name?

I’m kinda down tonight. Not sure why. It’s as good a time as any to belch out a blog, I guess. I had a cousin who could belch the alphabet (not you Jenny…) and that always impressed me, but the alphabet isn’t 500 words long now, is it? Tonight you really get 2 blogs, because I’m too lazy to hit “post” twice. It’s like Doublemint gum, except you don’t get gum, or even double-pleasure. But you get to read my blog! Hell, read it twice. After all, what’s the Psalm say? “I like Big Butts and I cannot lie?” And if you seriously think that’s not a Holy Scripture, you’re probably reading the wrong website.


Today is good Friday. It’s not my favorite holiday of the Holy week, but it’s probably the most important, seeing how it commemorates how the Christ died on the Cross and all. My favorite of the holiday week is Maundy Thursday, to be honest. It’s Jesus at his most-human point. Having a crappy day of betrayal, bereft of friends. The church service always ended by the minister blowing out candles one by one, and then the bells would toll, and we’d exit the church in silence. Harrowing. Should be rated PG13, because it would have scared the shit out of me if I’d experienced it as a kid. Apart from that, Maundy Thursday’s gotta be them most liturgically-named mainstream holiday we have. I guess Black Thursday would have been too mundane? How about “Where the Hell have all my friends gone?” Thursday?

But, sometimes, as a Christian, you need a human God. If that makes no sense to my atheist followers, just bear with me. It’s the miracle of Christianity, the fact that we can identify with a God that was, prior to Jesus, a paradigm of greatness, of rage, of awesome power, and general unknowable-ness. Yet a Jesus who needed friends? that touches something in me, even in my middle-aged years of unknowing.

Easter is nice, but it’s been co-opted by corporate America and has no meaning to me anymore, and I was never that big a fan of hard-boiled eggs anyhow.

So, that was yesterday. What about the rest of the week when I wasn’t blogging? This is really two blogs today, I’ve had two thoughts on my mind this week. And, for better or worse, you just read the first one.

Well, I was learning names at work. It’s a corporate “thing” on the East coast that we need to ask the name of each customer who orders either an espresso beverage or a sandwich. Even though the directive didn’t start until February, our store began in December because we are collectively so awful at spelling.

I’m a good speller. I’m a TERRIBLE rememberer. It’s funny. I can tell you, 20 years ago, where I sat in a theater, when I watched the movie “Big” (with Tom Hanks), and where I ate that evening, and who I was with (in a bold, and I thought, romantic stroke, I told that woman to put her hands in her mouth to warm them up, later that same evening). I remember the scent of our carport from 35 years ago. I remember where the cereal was kept in our apartment 40 years ago. But if you walk into my store and order a drink, I’ll forget your name before you leave the building.

This BOTHERS me. They pay me to be a people person. I’m barely able to be “person.” Yet I’ve seen it work. If I say “Hi Bob!” when Bob comes in, we no longer have a transaction. We have a relationship in the works. From “Hi Bob!” I can say “How’re the kids?” or “Elbow feeling better?” or “Depart from me, I never knew you!” But for me, getting to “Hi Bob!” is the doozy.

So, last week I watched  a TEDTalks video that talked about how he trained his mind to remember all sorts of useful facts. I’m serious–this guy was almost a savant. According to CNN, he can “memorize the precise order of 28 shuffled packs of playing cards in one hour. He used a similar trick to memorize the precise order of 4,140 random binary digits in half an hour.” If he can do that, I can remember a few people’s names and their drinks, right?

Well, I’ve been making an effort. It’s still not easy, but I got Lee. And Pam. Emily, and Amanda. I’ve figured out Hunter and Mike (We’ve got half a dozen Mikes–I confuse them all). You get the picture. I’m learning names.

You may think I’m doing this because my workplace tells me to. No, not really. I’m doing this because relationships are more important that coffee.

And that’s been my week. Enjoy your Christian holidays. Or since it’s Friday night, enjoy your Passover. May you all be blessed this upcoming year!

3 thoughts on “Maundy Thursday, and What’s in a name?”

  1. …and then there’s Maude.” -sorry, I could not resist.

    I have the name problem too. Starbucks strategy may backfire on some folks. It is great if you are Wanda. Everyone knows and loves Wanda. But what about poor Bill. Bill #17, who has the nondescript face. How does he feel after the 23rd day of you asking him his name for his drink order?

    At my church, I have been helping out with small groups. I have had about 4 groups with 12 people over about 6 weeks a piece. They recognize me all the time at church and call me by name. The best I can muster is a very energetic “HEY!” right back at them. It is almost embarrassing how enthusiastic I am with my reply, as though enthusiasm will make up for a weak brain.

    “GREAT POSTING, guy!!!”


  2. Interesting Brian. We have a friend/contractor who tends to drop by every morning to use our printer or computer for about ten minutes. He invariably offers to get us coffee from across the street. I have no idea if they know his name, but he holds up 1, 2 or 3 fingers as he walks across the street. And his coffee is ready when he walks in the door. Of course, that requires not ordering variety, but I find that small town hospitality awesome, funny and cute!


  3. So is there a deduction in “Warm fuzzy points” when you call out your customer’s name and he picks up his cup and discovers you’ve written “Mike’s espresso doppio” when, unlike the other five, his name is spelt “Mhaiq”?


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