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the name game

But is there a more pointless exchange and waste of the English language than:

"Oh, you grew up in [insert remote suburban town]? You must know Kayla Murphy then."

"Oh my god yeah Kayla! She's my sister's best friend's younger brother's ex-girlfriend. I played basketball with her in like 4th grade. Small world."

*end conversation*

WHAT is the end goal? To reach the conclusion that you both kinda sorta maybe know Kayla, but will probably sell it as this deeply-rooted friendship, but in actuality, if you saw Kayla at Stop & Shop you probably wouldn't even say hi but just text your friends, "Guys I saw Kayla Murphy in the produce section" and then they follow up with the "OMG haven't heard that name in years yada yada yada."

I've never understood this cultural phenomenon so universally abused in the opening credits of meeting someone new. Understandable if Kayla Murphy is your sister or genuine best friend or in some capacity name dropping her will elevate this new relationship to a more intimate level. However. Nine times out of ten it's in fact the opposite, as if you are suddenly validated for identifying your friend of a friend of a cousin-once-removed's friend.

And then you begin to think, how many times have I been the Kayla Murphy? And what's my accompanying epithet or one-liner intended to provoke the response, "Ooohh yeah I know Nat" or "I've heard the name" ?

Thinking out loud.

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