Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

Last night, I remembered the name Cheryl. That happens to me every once in a while, just out of the blue.

Maybe fifteen years ago, in high-school, I was walking down the hall when I ran into a large knot of friends, standing in a semi-circle, like how people eat dinner on TV.

"Hi, Larry!" I said, starting at the left and working around. "Hi, Todd! Hi, Jill! Hi, Laurie! Hi, Bill! Hi, Susan!" -- and, yes, I'm making up names at this point, because I've forgotten most of the people I knew back then -- "Hi, Ted! Hi, Janet! Hi... Uh.


Oh, God, what was her name? I had just greeted eight other people by name and I was not going to get by with a casual "Hi!" and a wave. What the hell was her name?

I said, "Uh," again, so that nobody would realize I was stalling.

What was her name? Short. Bobbed hair. Damn!

The ten of us stood there and -- if you count the fact that I was having some sort of out-of-body experience -- we all watched me rummage through the back of my head trying to find something to attach to the face.

It was the most awkward forty-five minutes of my life, especially because it was compressed into three seconds.

Eventually, I gave up and tried to get by with a casual "Hi!" and a wave. I think I fooled her.

Later, I pulled Larry aside and he said, "Cheryl."

I slapped my forehead. "God! I knew that!"

"Everybody knows that."

"Cheryl!" I said to myself. "I've gotta remember that."

And so a decade and a half later, every once in a while and without warning, my brain will scream, "Cheryl!" in a panicky reminder to itself. I haven't seen the woman since we graduated, but if I ever run into her -- sometime, somewhere -- I'm going to be able to offer a casual, "Hi, Cheryl!" Then I'll throw in a wave for good measure.

And she'll say, "What was your name again?"

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic and Buzz Clock), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is I'd love to hear from you!

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