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Initially a Problem

by Kenneth B. Lourie

I live less than 50 yards away from a neighbor whose face I know but whose name I canít remember. And Iím not talking about his last name, either. No, Iím talking about his first name, which, given the title, is not a name in the most literal calling but rather a pair of initials. And my not remembering those initials is somewhat ironic, considering, throughout my formative years I was nicknamed K.B., my first and middle initials.

This neighbor, a man approximately my age, is living in the house next to mine, for the second time. Previously he was a tenant. Then he moved away.

Now heís back, as a newlywed and an owner. Obviously Iíve not interacted with him enough to commit his initials to memory, and thereís really no excuse for that. Except, living in the fast lane (Ha!) sometimes makes it difficult to stop and chat up the neighbors. Still, thereís been ample opportunity to commit his initials to memory, especially since he has offered, on more than one occasion, to help the computer-challenged, illiterate living in my house (yours truly) learn some basic computer skills.

You see, this man is a computer repair/rebuild/resolve troubleshooter of the highest caliber. Heís the professional the manufacturers refer to you to come to your home and do whatever it is these technicians do. I should know. I have benefited from his expertise. The first time my computer crashed (froze?), I called him. Luckily (for me) he was home, and happily he obliged and came right over. He sat down at my computer, and within a few minutes he had keystroked his way into my heart and didnít seem to mind. Then he offered, almost unconditionally, and for free mind you - even though heís already on call 24/7 to service paying customers - to assist me in my computing. So heís been in my house, and yet I still canít remember his initials.

I want to say A.J., but thatís my co-worker Andreaís sonís name, as well as the name of Lt. Robertsí son, named after the judge advocate general himself, A.J. Chegwidden, on the CBS television program ďJAG.Ē I know itís not R.J. That belongs to R.J. Reynolds, the tobacco conglomerate. And of course his initials are not M.J. We all know he wears No. 23 for the Washington Wizards. And itís certainly not O.J. We know who he is, and heís not my neighbor. Nor are his initials B.J. That name belongs to B.J. Honeycutt, a character from the CBS television series, ďM*A*S*HĒ (played by Mike Farrell), son of Mrs. B and Mr. J. Honeycutt.

His name could be J.B., but since itís football season, itís more likely those initials belong to James Brown, host of Foxís Sunday NFL pre-game show. It could be T.J. but, I think I remember William Shatnerís (or maybe itís Heather Locklear I remember) post-ĒStar TrekĒ television series (and character) T.J. Hooker. And itís definitely not C.J. I believe that was Pamela Andersonís characterís name on ďBaywatch,Ē during its early years.

I donít think his initials are J.D., either, especially now that the televised NHL season has begun. J.D. is the name of the longtime color analyst and former goalie, Jon Davidson. And itís certainly not D.J. To me, D.J. is Dennis Johnson, starting guard on the last two Boston Celtic, NBA championship teams in 1984 and í86. Nor is his name L.J. Those initials belong to Larry Johnson, the UNLV, Charlotte Hornetsí and New York Knicksí basketball star, (and the former Grandmama), forced to retire prematurely from the NBA due to a back injury. And finally, I know itís not J.C. Because as any Washingtonian should know, those initials belong to only one person, J.C. Haywood, local Channel 9ís long-appearing daytime and occasional early-evening broadcaster.

But J.C. sounds close. Itís not J.P., itís not J.V., itís not J.Z., itís... J.T.! Thatís it! J.T.! Finally.

Now I can relax, so the next time I see him I wonít have to stammer my way through ďHello.Ē Iím sure it will be much easier starting a conversation, now that I know his name.

Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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