I said before that 90% of my life's embarrassing moments stem from something I said or didn't say. I would now add that well over half of that 90% has to do with getting peoples' names wrong.
I've always been terrible with names. And some people say that and just blow it off like it's no big deal, that it's just a cute character trait. But for me, I realize how important it is (and that it's definitely an indication of self-absorption), so I've been working on it very hard for a very long time. Making a point to repeat someone's name when I'm introduced and then say it several times in my head then use it a few times in a sentence and all that.
But I still find myself forgetting peoples' names the moment they're introduced. In shows I don't start calling people by their names until several weeks into the rehearsal process. Sometimes, like for the Castle, with a dozen cast members, I'll practice their names in my head on the way to rehearsal, thinking through each character, the actor who plays the role, and his or her name.
So yesterday I'm at an audition and paired up with this guy I think I know as John. Just a few weeks ago I was in another casting office talking with him, calling him John, very proud of myself for remembering. Then yesterday I peer over at his headshot, which reveals his name is actually Jeremy. WTF?
This is worse than mixing up a name. I actually confused this guy with a totally different person. I've done this several times. I swear Jeremy looks almost exactly like a John I knew from Second City.
So I'm back to cringing and yelping, Tourette's-like, several times a day as I recall this.