There are people I have known for years – no, make that decades – who have trouble remembering my name.  ”Hi, Bob,” someone will say.  No, Bob’s my uncle.  Or “Hey, Rob, are you back in town?” Well, you’re thinking of my cousin who lives in Florida. I’m Joe. I’ve been here all along.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called Jim. Yeah, Jim is close to Joe and it’s an understandable mistake for someone I don’t see very often. But time and time again I have to re-introduce myself to the same person who thinks they’ve never met me.

You could take the old Nat King Cole classic, Unforgettable, and change it to So Forgettable, that’s who I am.

I’m a quiet guy in person. I don’t stand out. I used to imagine that my laconic nature would be perceived as brooding and mysterious. But no, just boring.

I’m not very outgoing. I used to watch the way my mother could talk to anyone and have them laughing within minutes. Why couldn’t I be more like her? I’m better than I used to be, but I can’t help but to fall back into my loner tendencies.

I’m not one to shout about my beliefs and political leanings. I think such things are complex and multi-layered and don’t lend themselves to slogans or sound bites. If you want to have a long, serious conversation, I’m in. But of course, ain’t nobody got time for that.

I write stories. You like them? Cool. Not getting it? That’s ok.

I write poems. Dig the rhymes? Groovy. Free verse not you thing? NBD.

I write novels. Well, the truth here is that it seems that I’m the only one who gets something out of them.  That’s ok, too.

We all want to be known and appreciated. We want to know that our lives, our work, our being here, is meaningful in some way.

We cross paths with hundreds, probably thousands of people in our lifetimes. Some we know, some we don’t even catch their names. Some we see face to face, some we only see what they’ve done.

There’s a painting hanging on the wall of the pizzeria in South Hills by an artist whose name will never be known outside of her family. For a moment, it takes me to a different world, one that I wouldn’t know without her painting.

A fiddle player plays a mournful solo, for the moment upstaging the star, only to step back from the spotlight and return the glory to the charismatic singer.

An old man, who stops and looks inside every dumpster and eats at the church kitchens, whose clothes are dirty, nonetheless walks with dignity and greets you with a warm smile and an unashamed hello, and gives hope, that despite our circumstances, we can show love and respect.

So you can call me Jim. Maybe you’ll remember me, maybe you won’t. And maybe something I do will make a difference to someone.