Could it be Prosopagnosia?

Remember back when you were a small child and someone, maybe a parent, perhaps a teacher, assured you that at some point you would discover your God-given talent? I do. And I’m still waiting. It’s not that I’m without any talents, it’s just that none of them seem worth developing.

For example, I still remember a license plate number my California cousins and I memorized when we were pre-teens. We were sitting outside a bank in Porterville, CA, waiting for my uncle to return from making a deposit when a man carrying an honest-to-goodness money bag hurried out of the building. We decided he was robbing the bank and memorized the number on his pickup truck. U19 671. I’m still prepared to testify as an eye witness some 50 years after the fact.

I also know the differences between four stroke and two stroke engines and can describe their respective firing sequences. In addition I can explain baseball’s infield fly rule and the reasoning behind it. And when given a multiple choice test on just about any subject I’m more likely to pass than to fail. Whoopee!

There are a great many more things, though, that I have no talent for. The one that’s driving me crazy right now is my inability to recognize faces, specifically faces of famous people; although, I often joke that I even make Studly Doright wear a name tag when he returns from a lengthy business trip.

I’ve been playing Ellen DeGeneres’s Hot Hands game on my iPhone lately. In this game one must try to call out the names of a succession of celebrities within a limited amount of time. I simply cannot do it. Tom Hanks becomes “Bob, Jim, Um, Rob!” Likewise Madonna becomes “Bob, Jim, Um, Rob?!” So do Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Bullock, and Denzel Washington.

As a result of playing this game I’ve come to believe I have a mild version of a condition know as prosopagnosia.

Prosopagnosia is a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces. Prosopagnosia is also known as face blindness or facial agnosia. The term prosopagnosia comes from the Greek words for “face” and “lack of knowledge.”

Some folks with the condition can’t even recognize their own faces in the mirror! I’m not that bad, but I swear I’m struck dumb when trying to identify any celebrities. Do you think they’d mind wearing name tags just until I get the hang of the game?

All the Kardashians, or as I like to call them, “Bob, Jim, Um, Rob?”

Peace, people!


I’d just left Chicken Salad Chick where I’d enjoyed the Cranberry Kelly and a side of grape salad. The day, sunshiny and Forida-perfect, insisted that I take a stroll and pop into the shops in a strip mall on Market Street in Tallahassee.

With no agenda, no cash, and all my credit cards gone to live with a bunch of nasty thieves, I truly was merely window shopping. 

I was dressed casually–cropped jeans and a soft white tshirt, flip flops. As I headed back to my car I saw a well-dressed woman walking toward me on the sidewalk. I smiled. I always smile, I can’t help it. 

She began laughing. Not a happy laugh, an insulting laugh, like, “Lady, who do you think you are?”

As she passed, close enough to touch, she looked me up and down. Now I’m wondering if I have food on my face (it wouldn’t be the first time) or a breast exposed (it could happen) or perhaps I’ve developed a unicorn type appendage between my eyes (not likely, but might be worth a snicker).

As soon as I got to my car I flipped the visor down to check my image in the mirror. Ok, I’m no beauty, but I couldn’t see a thing to laugh about. Well, my hair was a bit Dumb and Dumber-ish, but still….

I needed to stop at a grocery store for a couple of items on my way home, so once I entered the store I made a beeline for the ladies room. Again, America’s Next Top Model isn’t going to be calling any time soon, but I looked like an average 59-year-old grandmother with a touch of hippie grunge.

So why did this stranger feel the need to laugh at me? I want to track her down and ask. Why does it bother me that she laughed? Insecurity? Curiosity? 

Regardless, it was unnerving. Like that Denzel Washington movie, “Fallen,” where the devil keeps possessing different people, jumping from one host to another, singing The Rolling Stones’ Time is on My Side.
Hope she wasn’t possessed! That seems a good spot to end this. 

Peace, people!