When I went to renew my library card last month, the guy at the help desk demanded I get a new one – the one I’d been using the last 13 years was worn out. Unfortunately, the new card came with a new number.
“But I’ve got that number memorized,” I whined. “I type it in every week when I renew books online.”
Lesson to my kids: Whining never works. (Not that they ever read these blog posts, with the possible exception of 12-year-old Colleen.)
Anyway, the point is that I had yet another number to program into my life. Fourteen digits – five more than my social security number! Despite my griping, however, I’ve already got it memorized. Even though my hard drive is obviously faltering when it comes to retrieving things like names, conversation snippets and whether or not I owned a certain Duran Duran album in the 1980s (a question that came up over the holidays), it turns out that I’m getting better at memorizing numbers the older I get.
After half a century on this earth, I’ve got so many number fragments floating around my brain that there’s almost no code or unwieldy account number that I can’t break down into area codes, birthdays, uniform numbers or historic dates from my past.
Just recently, for instance, I picked up a couple of new combination locks to take to the Y. At first I wrote the code on my hand so I wouldn’t forget it. But both turned out to be not only exceedingly simple, but eerily similar — the first two numbers either doubled or were cut in half, while both third numbers turned out to be lifted from various baseball uniforms in Ben’s past.
Now that I’ve picked up on this weird phenomenon, I figure I might as well go ahead and memorize other numbers that might simplify my life. Maybe that will help declutter my brain in the process.
Janathon Day 14 workout: Playing in the snow on Ben’s mountain bike. It was still just barely above zero, too cold for me to want to go too far down the road, but it was a hoot to see how well that bike churns through snow in the driveway.