: views from the Hill

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Things I've memorized and still remember for which there is no real use

Laura Lippman had a recent post about memorization. She asked for memories of memorization.

Instead of memories, I provided a list of things I've memorized and still remember for which there is no real use:

(1) pi to twenty-two places which seven-years-older brother Skip taught me when I was in fourth grade -- age eight -- not because there was any purpose to it but because he was fifteen and thought it'd be fun to see how far my memory could stretch. I've never added on to that limit because what need is there for that sort of stuff except to win bar bets?

(2) "If" by Rudyard Kipling, extra credit in fifth grade.

(3) kingdom-phylum-order-class-family-genus-species // Bio 1 test prep c. 1969.

(4) chlordane, lindane, pentachlorophenol -- three top legal organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) used as termiticides // Ent101 test prep c. 1971. Dr. J. Gordon Edwards (Janey Edwards' dad) was the sort of professor who ate DDT in class just to show you that it wasn't all that poisonous. And he didn't think much of Rachel Carson either.

(5) The three vowels immediately after the "h" in "Weyerhaeuser" are in alpha order. // software control project to set saws for the sawmill in Raymond WA using lasers to scan the logs and some sophisticated algorithms. c1981

(6) The worst memory waste, though, is "Brent and Joanne, Vic and Pam, Jerry, Michelle and Sharon" -- the names of the folks who shared a house down near San Jose State where I was allegedly going to hang out after class -- instead of heading home to the family manse -- and stay until after dinner when, actually, I was going somewhere I shouldn't've been. Knowing their names was supposed to add verisimilitude to the story. c1971

I can remember their names but not where I shouldn't've been going.

Do you have any memory tricks? Bar bet worthy? "There are strange things done in the midnight sun" Robert Service poems? "Four score and seven..." " By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea" (by Sinatra, of course. ...) or "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

... and things of that sort?

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