Jack of All Names
Sophomore year of college was great. I learned a lot, cried and laughed a ton, and made a lot of memories. One of those being the story of the infamous dude with no name.
This dude became fairly well-known among my friends. And now, today, readers, his story is being broadcasted to the world. Or at least to my little corner of it. (Don’t worry, I asked him for permission to post this.)
It all started the first or second week of school when I kept passing this guy I recognized but I wasn’t sure from where. He waved to me, so I was sure I knew him, but I just couldn’t pinpoint any concrete evidence about him because everything I knew seemed to contradict. For your convenience dear readers, I have listed the ‘facts’ below.
Facts I felt were right:
1) I was pretty sure he was a freshman.
2) I was pretty sure I met him on move-in day.
3) I was pretty sure he lived in the same neighborhood as me (at my school, our housing is broken up into neighborhoods).
Why these facts didn’t add up:
1) I didn’t move in my neighborhood, meaning he wasn’t one of the freshman I moved in.
2) He was a freshman, meaning he didn’t move in other people with me.
Why I couldn’t Nancy Drew the whole situation and figure out the truth:
1) I didn’t know his name.
Oh, and to top it all off, he didn’t know mine either. Or rather, he knew the wrong one.
Yes, that’s right. He called me Cambell, which I never corrected because not only could I not remember where I knew him from, but I couldn’t remember his name. I felt like I couldn’t correct him because he at least was close to my name; whereas, I had no idea at all what his name was. Or who he was for that matter.
This went on for a few months. He called me Cambell; I smiled and waved back then laughed about how weird the whole situation was with my friends.
Near the end of the 2017, I had given up hope. I had accepted that I would never know this kid’s name or history with me. And, it probably would have continued like that if I hadn’t decided to go to the annual Christmas party that my college’s president held.
Now, this party was great not only because of the free fancy food, but also the nametags. Everyone was required to have nametags so that they could be tagged in any photos from the night. And, by sheer chance, I ran into the nameless dude on the bus back to campus and got a glance at his nametag.
His name was Jack.
So, it only took me a semester, but I got his name.
Which meant I now could correct him calling me Cambell. Well, I would be able to if I hadn’t been letting it slide for the past semester. Quite the situation I had put myself into, you see.
Flashforward about two months and now I could say, “Hi Jack!” back to him when I saw him around. I still had no idea where I knew him from, but knowing his name was better than where I was a semester ago.
Then, ironically yet again, I ended up going to a winter-term long series that he also went to. This dude was literally everywhere.
The last night of the series, we ran into each other. I was with my friend—let’s call her Harmony—and Jack introduced himself to her. Then, he went into an explanation of how he knew me. The conversation went a little like this:
Jack: Hey, I’m Jack, Cambell’s friend.
Harmony: I’m Harmony. How do you guys know each other?
Me: *hoping Jack knows because I have no idea*
Jack: We did freshman move-in day together. Global O-Team!*
Me: *realizing that half my assumptions were right but still trying to figure out why I thought he was a freshman* O-Team!
Harmony: *being amazing as usual and answering the question I had even though she had never heard the Jack story* Wait, but aren’t you a freshman?
Jack: I am. I’m a leadership fellow so one of the things we do is move in early then help other freshmen move in.
Harmony: Oh, that makes sense.
*one of Jack’s friends calls him away*
Jack: Well, that’s me. I got to go. Nice meeting you Harmony and seeing you again Cambell!
Harmony and me: Bye!
Harmony: *turns towards me* I’ve met him at least 5 times already and he never remembers who I am.
Me: *laughs and explains the whole story to her*
So, a half a year into the school year and the puzzle pieces all finally fit together. Somehow, someway, I figured out who Jack was.
And, I figured that was the end of the story. I had already accepted that he would never call me the right name because I had known him for so long at that point to correct him now. I was pretty content with being called Cambell till I graduated and possibly for the rest of my life, depending on if Jack and I continued to be friends after college.
But, about a month till school was over, I was eating in the cafeteria and saw Jack. His face shined with recognition and he walked over to me.
“I just realized that I’ve been calling you the wrong name for almost an entire year, Camden,” he said. He looked so apologetic. I laughed which made him tilt his head in confusion.
“Better than not knowing my name at all,” I responded then told him the whole story.
What a semester.
*Global O-Team: Global is the neighborhood and O-Team stands for Orientation Team, aka a fancy word for the movers.