DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been a college professor for 19 years. In that time I've had many wonderful students. On occasion I'll run into some alumni, either in town or at a college function. My problem is that while I may remember their face, or even more details about them, I can't always remember their name.
What is the polite way to deal with this? When faced with these situations I use a generic "Hi there, good to see you" greeting. But I'm afraid they realize I can't recall their name.
GENTLE READER: Allow Miss Manners to congratulate you for teaching at a college where the classes are small enough to allow the professors to learn their current students' names. And for being in a profession where the inability to master the mechanics of life is considered charming. Should you feel that the student senses your inability to use his name, you need only ask for it by confessing, "You remember how absent-minded I am."