Late last night I woke up and could not for the life of me come up with the name of Bruno Mars. Don't ask me why I wanted his name; I just did. (And even I don't know why I suddenly decided this was such a consequential thing for me to know--right now.)
I knew exactly what he looked like. I sort of thought that there was a b in his name somewhere--and an n. That was it. I could hear his voice. And I wished only that I could ask it: What's your name?
I woke up several more times in the night ... feeling, each time, that I was right on the edge of knowing it.
And then, suddenly (well, not too suddenly), about the time the birds started in on their morning songs, I had it. Felt an inexplicable relief.
This is the second time in the last week or so that I've fought like wildcat (do they fight?) to recall something. The one right before Bruno Mars was one of my worst.
I awoke hearing a woman's voice saying "Mr. Fenimore" (pronounced FENNIE-morr]. Again, I'm not sure why that happened, but I had just received in the mail the second volume of the two-volume definitive biography of James Fenimore Cooper, Wayne Franklin's James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years (Yale UP, 2017). I read the first volume a few years ago--admired it--even corresponded a little with Franklin.
I knew only this: Yes, Franklin's book (newly arrived) could have put the name in my head, but JFC had nothing otherwise to do with the voice I was hearing.
I realized after a while that I'd heard a character speak that name in that way in some TV show or movie. Whew. That narrows it down to about 1 million options.
Then, for some reason, I narrowed it down to The Rockford Files, that old TV series (1974-80), a series that I've watched over and over and over again--VHS, DVD, streaming ... 122 episodes, 6 seasons. Whatever.
More late-night/early-morning anguish ... Which episode?
This went on for another full day and part of another night.
Then ... the insight that took me zooming to the answer. The voice was saying Dr. Fenimore, not Mr. Fenimore.
As soon as dawn broke, I grabbed from a nearby shelf--a very nearby shelf--"This Is Jim Rockford": The Rockford Files, a book definitive in its own way. Even before I grabbed, I knew which episode it was--well, episodeS: It was a two-hour episode, and I grabbed the book only to get the exact title and original air dates.
"Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man's Job"--March 3, 1979--deals with an elaborate con that Rockford and his friends pull on Harold "Jack" Coombs (played wonderfully by the late Robert Webber), an LA wheeler-dealer who has forced out of business the father of Rockford's friend, a young P.I. named Richie Brockelman (Dennis Dugan).
The con involves a fake King Tut exhibit that they seduce (in one way--actually seduce) Coombs into financing; then they frighten him off with some mumbo-jumbo about the curse of the tomb, and Richie's dad gets his money back.
Anyway, Richie's role in the con is one "Dr. Fenimore" (!!!!!), who, supposedly, is a young and rising star in Egyptology. One of the other con artists is Trisha Noble (who plays a sly seductress/ Egyptian official named Odette).
And it's the voice of Odette that woke me the other night, saying "Dr. Fenimore"--a name and title she says quite a few times in the episodes.
Whew. I could sleep again.
I have to say that this kind of stuff drives me crazy. I can not just "let it go"; I have to pursue it into the night like a crazed lepidopterist who is positive he has just seen some glowing nocturnal butterfly or moth that No One Has Ever Seen Before. And off he goes ...
And off I go ... perhaps to a shrink?