My Old Buddy, Jeff Jackson

The fans were streaming toward the exit after another loss by the home team. I wasn’t paying attention to anyone in particular, just watching the wave of disappointed humanity go by. Then, without warning, it happened.

A man came out of the crowd. He yelled over all the other voices around us…

I haven’t seen you in forever, what’s up man?


This came up as a recommended image for this post. I don’t know who it is, but I felt compelled to use it. (Photo credit: mandydax)

As he approached, I saw the look of recognition on his face and my mind went to work identifying him. I decided he was Jeff Jackson. I’d worked with him years ago, we’d gone different directions in our careers. Jeff was about ten years older than me and had retired a few years back.

Jeff burst out of the crowd, shook my hand and gave me a hug.

How’s it going? How are all the kids?

“Easy mistakeĀ  for him to make”, I thought, then I told him that there was just the one and he was doing very well in college. Jeff expressed surprise that I had a college aged son. That struck me funny. He’s someone who should have a pretty good sense of how old I am.

Like a lot of people, Jeff looked better than when he’d been working. He looked healthier, well rested, less stressed. We shook hands and he started back into the crowd. I looked at him one more time and thought, “no way he looks that much better.” As I was starting to form the idea that perhaps I’d misidentified him I saw the woman he was with look back and point back toward me.

He looked back, then looked again and shrugged as if to tell her “I don’t know”.

I’m terrible with names, but I understand people and how they communicate. Everything about this faux Jeff Jackson’s voice and expression said he knew who I was and was happy to see me. I’m confident he believed he knew me, as confident as I now am that I am not who he thought I was and that he isn’t my old co-worker.

You know, it is hard enough getting old without other old people influencing my faulty memory with their faulty memories.

I guess we both probably have good stories to tell about reuniting with someone we never knew. I wonder if faux Jeff wrote his tale down before he forgot it.



29 Comments on “My Old Buddy, Jeff Jackson”

  1. Maybe you were remembering Shoeless Jeff Jackson. This guy looks like he wears shoes.

    As Winston Churchill once said, it’s always a good idea to check the footwear of old acquaintances.

  2. benzeknees says:

    Good one – where no one wants to admit they’ve made a mistake, let’s just go along & pretend this is working!

  3. Laura says:

    I’m kind of hoping you guys run into each other again. “Hey! How’ve you been? Remember that time we mistakenly thought we knew each other?”

  4. Ha. This is perfect. Forcing your brain to remember someone you don’t is just painful sometimes.

  5. lbwoodgate says:

    You did check to make sure you still had your wallet right?

  6. It’s easy to see why he made the mistake, and so did you. As per the photograph he was clearly looking off to the left at the guy next to you. Joke’s on you for responding.

  7. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Perhaps the meaning behind his shrug and the exchange was this, “Yeah, he hasn’t aged a bit! Still toned and handsome, damn him!” It doesn’t hurt to indulge in some delusion once in a while. As long as no one gets hurt.

  8. Wendi says:

    True story…I have run down city streets to catch up with people I thought I knew. And I’ve been so very wrong. And so very embarrassed.

  9. Lenore Diane says:

    Sadly, I’ve been Jeff Jackson countless times. That is to say, if it were not for my friend Carol holding me back whenever Is say, “Look! It’s [insert long lost friend’s name here]! I’m going to go say ‘hello'”, I would be Jeff Jackson. Jeff needs a Carol in his life.

  10. Debbie says:

    I think the older one gets, the more people one has met. And if you’ve lived in a lot of places, chances are you’re going to find people who look like people you knew from before. So, yes, it’s completely plausible that “Jeff” thought he knew you. Nice of you to play along. You were just being nice, weren’t you??

  11. We Found Him Captain! says:

    Maybe it was me? I remember meeting you but I don’t remember the date, place or time of day.
    I don’t look like the guy in that picture do I? If your answer is “yes” then I’m sure it wasn’t me. I know it’s not my picture because both of my eyes are the same color. He looks like he just realized he did something in his shorts. Check his VIN number…….

  12. Betty says:

    crazy eye thing going on in that photo

  13. robincoyle says:

    Hello Lynn. It is me, faux Robin. Nice to see you again.

  14. planetross says:

    I was mistaken for my friend Mr. Pettit a few months ago: we don’t look anything alike. I knew who the woman was talking about though: she felt pretty embarrassed though when I said who she thought I was.

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