I don't think quickly on my feet. If I have to get up into the pulpit and make an announcement about someone leaving their car lights on, I want a note with me or I get tongue tied. I mull things over for a long time before I come up with a witty come back usually long after everybody has moved on to another topic - or gone home - and are already in bed.
That's why I hate situations like this. This happened recently with a couple I had not seen in years. People I genuinely like.
I've tried all the tricks of association and what not people recommend. I think my cranial storage system is just too much of a mess. Like my desk, it just takes me a while to find things. And when something gets misfiled it is difficult to put it in the right spot. I have a friend named Phred (yes, it is spelled that way.) When we first met I tried that association thing - I used the "Ph" in his name and for the first year of our friendship I called him Phil. Another friend of mine, Todd, I called Scott for two years. He just looked so much more like a Scott.
Here's my theory: People who are good with names are so because when confronted with a person the first thing they do is go to their cranial storage facility and pull out a name. I go their and start looking for pictures - for context. For example:
I'm immediately thinking, "Kids? Job? Joys? Problems? What do you remember about their lives?" Unfortunately this is a long process.