Sunday, August 28, 2022

Do you need a song to remember your social security number?

 

***LUCY SAYS: thank you for all the amazing comments about cookbooks and the Key West mysteries this week. I'm sorry I only have two to give away.

The Key West Woman's Club Cookbook 1949: Debra Ball

The Key West Woman's Club Cookbook 1988: Tina D.

Also Tbone suggested we give away runner-up prizes, your choice of any Key West mystery or UNSAFE HAVEN  to Patty Jean, Lynda, Shelia, and Debra T. Email me at raisleib at gmail dot com to claim your prize!

And now to our regularly scheduled program...

HALLIE EPHRON: I have a terrible memory for things that should be easy. I confess, I do not know birthdays other than my own. I get the last two digits of my social security number wrong unless I remember they rhyme with V8. The juice. Fortunately I'm a champ when it comes to coaxing out of Google whatever refuses to bubble up out of my brain.

But Google can't find everything.

Two years ago (could it have been that far back?) I remember waiting waiting for my number to come up on the Jumbotron outside Gillette Stadium, alerting me that it was my turn to come inside and get vaccinated. It was seniors-only time.


I'd been watching streams of shaggy (we hadn't been to the beauty salon in months) graying souls exited the stadium to return to their cars. As they arrived and searched for their cars, car horns went off all around me like poor lost souls bleating for their owners.

I remember thinking maliciously, Next time buy a yellow car.

My turn came up and, of course I forgot to write down the number of my parking row. I returned and wandered around hopelessly paging my car. My daughter who was waiting for me in the car got out, stood on tippy toe, and flagged me down. Good thing, too, since easily one out of every ten cars in the lot was a black SUV approximately like mine.



I remembered those poor wandering souls in the Gilette Stadium parking lot recently when I rented a black SUV. I knew I'd never find it if I couldn't remember the license plate, or at least part of it. And I knew that if I wrote it down, I'd probably forget where I put the paper I'd written it on.

The car's license plate was something like 8XDPMT02. Good luck remembering that! So I came up with a visual:

A row of dead deer lying on their backs withtheir crossed legs sticking up in the air.
Which made me think: EIGHT DEAD DEER.

Which got me to 8XD
 
Which was enough to find the license plate of my rented black SUV in a sea of them in a motel or mall parking lot.

Another trick I use when I wake up in the middle of the night and something pops into my head that I need to remember. I associate the thing I need to remember with an object, and then visualize that thing sitting on the bottom step of the staircase in my house.

Once it was a chicken.

Of course I can still picture the chicken (it's brown) but I have no idea what it was supposed to make me remember. But the next morning I did.

Anyone have any handy dandy tricks for remembering the name of someone you've been introduced to so you can recall it five minutes later? Or other ways that you make sure you can remember something when Google wouldn't have a clue?

45 comments:

  1. Okay, eight dead deer definitely made me chuckle! But it certainly was a great idea . . . .

    I’m not particularly good at remembering names; someone once told me if I repeated the name of the person I was being introduced to it would help me remember . . . it is helpful, but I can’t say that it’s foolproof . . . .

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    1. … especially when you meet four more people in the next ten minutes

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    2. I've gotten so bad with names, it's embarrassing...

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    3. Hank Phillippi RyanAugust 28, 2022 at 10:34 AM

      Name tags, name tags, everyone needs name tags. I love name tags. it is such a pleasure when people wear name tags! Otherwise I am completely and totally doomed.

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    4. Name tags, but with the print large enough that you don't have your nose on the person's...chest to read it!

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    5. And those names not hidden by long hair…which is my downfall whenever the wonderful bank teller, who is always helpful and always says, “Hello, Elisabeth” and my mind goes blank! Good morning all. And yes, I am Elisabeth (ugh, Blogger.)

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  2. Those poor deer! Another way to find the license plate, Hallie, is to take a picture of it on your phone. Of course, that doesn't work if you left your phone at home (ahem, earlier post this week...).

    We had new neighbors move in recently, a young couple, two doors down. I introduced myself to the woman one day as I was passing, then repeated the name to myself several times. All I can remember is that it ended in an A. Yesterday I met her husband. He said his name was Colin, and his wife is Victoria. I now have "Colin and Victoria" written on my office white board!

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    1. Great minds…. I’ve got the names of my neighbors and their kids on my refrigerator

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    2. Oh, dear. You, too? I have a new friend whose name I don't even know, just the name she uses on Facebook, which is Spanish for "little red bird". We were never introduced by name, and were wearing nametags. Don't you hate to peer at someone's chest? I wrote down her first name, but now can't find it, and I'm not sure about her last name, and it's getting late in the game to ask. We will see one another again, since her only niece just married my best friend's son.

      Facebook, a blessing and a curse.

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  3. Mnemonics seldom work for me (although spelling "mnemonic" today came almost too easily; thanks, crossword puzzles!). To find a rental car in a parking lot, I immediately place a brought-from-home, incredibly juvenile box of tissues on the dashboard. Back in the day, I would purchase and add to the dashboard a local issue of TV Guide; now that that magazine is no longer ubiquitous, I may hang my Wisconsin handicapped car hanger from the rearview mirror. I've been known to place a stuffed toy on the dashboard too.

    If I have to remember a series of errands, I try to use letters that spell a word (PEST for Peanutbutter, eggs, soap, toiletpaper) or are all the same letter as in cucumbers, corn, canteloupe, coriander-- but it's probably best to write it all down and then use a memory jogger to remember where the list is.

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    1. I use colors for a shopping list - a white a brown and a green … milk bread lettuce

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  4. Ugh, when meeting new people, I try to link something in their appearance to remember their names. Grace wears glasses. Brian has brown hair. Or maybe connect their name to a TV show or character. Helen, I think of Helen of Troy.

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  5. So funny: 8 dead deer!

    Yesterday I made a list before walking to the store. As I was walking, I thought, "Oh no, I forgot the list". I bought my groceries and got home (without missing anything on the list) and then found the list in my pocket.

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  6. I'm terrible with names, except for all the pandemic puppies in the area. At Killer Nashville, everybody wore a conference badge.

    After my daughter's graduation at the NOLA Super Dome, we wandered the parking garage for an hour and finally called the help number. A guy appeared on a golf cart and helped us find our car. Since then, I'm scrupulous about writing down my parking place location.

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    1. My brother uses his phone to photograph the parking row sign.

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    2. good idea. I know people who snap a photo of their hotel room door.

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  7. I dimly remember having a good memory. But now the filing cabinet is overfull.

    However, I can still recite "Men very early made jars serve useful needs period" to remember the order of the planets, or "KPCOFGS" for kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species, a mnemonic I made up in freshman biology. In 1965. So that kind of thing works.

    I can also tell you how old all the Maslowski grandchildren are, based on my own kids' ages. My sister-in-law thinks I'm an idiot savant every time I do this party trick.

    Now, where the hell did I park my car? Luckily, it has a red sticker of a female Citadel cadet in the back window.

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    1. How about "Dr. and Mrs. Van der Tramp" for all the verbs in French that are conjugated with etre? I can still fill out the list. So very useless...

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    2. (I learned that mnemonic about fifty-five years ago...)

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    3. Totally stealing this mnemonic, Edith.

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    4. This is Karen. That's one I've never heard, Edith!

      Fill me in at Bouchercon, maybe?

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  8. Back in the day, when phone numbers were only 5 digits(land line a previous post covered that topic)my father taught me how to remember the number. Four quarters and thirty-five cents (money!) for our number 42535. Maybe it was this early training, but I still remember all kind of numbers (math teacher here). Names as I get older are harder to come by. That's why for two months I keep students in their same seats so I can at least have some pattern as to who is who. Of course this didn't work the year I had a Tyler, Tyler, Tyler, Taylor, Taylor all in the same class (3 girls and 2 boys) EEKKKK! As for cars, now I have a Honda sedan, lost in the sea of SUV's!!

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  9. Oh dear names, I have the worst time with names and now I need to remember them for both of us and it doesn’t make things any easier. However I do have a good sense of direction so long as I focus on the visual clues in a huge parking lot. Fast forward to my grandsons high school lax team playing at Gillette (home of the Pats) in the State Lacrosse Cchampionships. Two cars full of kids with my son-in-law driving my car and the middle schoolers. The game is over, we stream out into the parking lot and - he can’t remember where he left the car and for once I hadn’t taken a bearing. Chaos with 3 little boys racing through aisles of cars and me trying not to lose any of them. Happy to say alls well etc. but it taught me a good lesson - those numbered poles have a purpose. - Celia

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  10. Thanks to my ever present smart phone, I take a picture of the signage for the row where I parked the car. Otherwise I’d wander lonely as a cloud, etc.

    On the other hand, I have just two phone numbers memorized: mine and Julie’s
    We keep a meticulous “family” calendar on our phones, too. So I don’t bother remembering appointments, birthdays, any of that stuff.
    I usually know the author of the book I’m reading, have a great memory of the plot so far, but don’t ask me the title.

    I do know my SS#, and I remember my mother’s because it was one more than mine. I presume we applied at the same time, but what are the odds that the applications were processed consecutively?

    Happy Sunday Reds!

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  11. I'm loving 8XD - that is perfect.

    I have an awful time with names and number ever since I had dengue fever. Something about the high fever wiping out those particular brain cells. No worries, could have been much worse. Other than those two things, all is well and my memory is photographic.

    Hallie, I can relate to your trick of visualization. When I need to remember something short term, I visualize writing it on an index card. Then I flip through the mental cards and viola - the necessary information!

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  12. Hank Phillippi RyanAugust 28, 2022 at 10:30 AM

    This is my entire life. I cannot remember anything unless I give myself a clue to remember it. And that always works!
    For instance, if my hotel room is room 1233 I can remember it’s 123, and I’ll be here for three days.
    Even if I won’t. It doesn’t need to be true. It just has to be an explanation.
    Once Jonathan and I were at a hotel in our room number was 412 and I said OK that’s easy,
    There are 4 of us and we will be here for one day, or maybe two. 212. And Jonathan said but that’s wrong! there are only two of us and we’re going to be here for one day only. And I said it doesn’t matter! It’s just a way to remember it.
    So then he said but then you have to remember the trick to remembering it, why don’t you just remember the number?
    And I tried to explain how it didn’t work that way.
    When Jonathan and I first got married, I remember his phone number because we met in September 1965, and I was 25 and he was 22. But that’s wrong, Jonathan would say. Completely wrong! And I would say it doesn’t matter, it’s just how I remember it.

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  13. I have a chronic condition of CRS - Can’t Remember Shizzle. I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason that can help me :(

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    1. Love can’t remember shizzle, Jenn. Thank you for the needed giggle this morning. Elisabeth

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    2. My little sister gave me a CRS pin years ago. What was she implying?

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  14. I read just last week or so that, all things considered, YELLOW cars hold their value better than any other color.

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    1. Since reading the entire Slough House series, I’m continually on the lookout for yellow cars.

      Remembering when I had a 67 yellow Camaro

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  15. HALLIE: One of the tricks I use is to take a iPhone photo of my license plate on my car so if I see another car that looks like my car, I look for the license plate. I also leave things in the back seat and always remember what I leave in the back seat like books for the little free library, dry cleaning drop off, grocery bags and etc.

    Diana

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  16. I remember, several years ago getting in a car that looked exactly like mine. I was confused for a few moments because of the smell! It didn't smell right! It didn't smell bad or offensive, just not like my car. I thought that was a very odd thing.

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  17. Old Teal Civic: license plate BBPC xxxx= Beautiful Brown Poodle Car which often contained a beautiful brown poodle. current dark grey CRV: license plate CEFP xxxx = ???? I can't come up with anything to describe my black poodle that is any way useful.

    But really. They promised me that my memory was waiting for me on the other side of menopause. I'm still hoping that it will come out of hiding soon.

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  18. Rhys: when I’m on a book tour I take a picture of my hotel room number. Otherwise I come back at night and every room I’ve stayed in has melted into a blur. And back in the days of old phones I used to remember numbers by hearing the tones in my head

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  19. I make a note on my phone of stuff I must remember. License plate. Sister's gate code. ATM pin. And so forth. I am just now getting to remember my cell phone number that I've had for years. Finally! But tricks to remember things? Nah. I have to write it down or take a picture. Or make the big gesture of checking my surroundings and saying "I am parked on the row with the pharmacy sign" or whatever.

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  20. Hallie, I have to ask why dead deer came to mind for you? Is there an experience or connection to that? I'm terrible with new names, sometimes old ones. If it's someone I know I will be around in the future in a setting where I should remember the name, I try to make a note of it on my phone in notes. It's so embarrassing when you feel like you should know someone's name and can't pull it up. Trying to gloss over the fact that you can't remember the person's name usually ends up so awkward that I'm sure that person knows I've forgotten his/her name.

    I can't believe I haven't been taking photos of the parking lot area in which I'm parked. When a section has a letter assigned to it, I try to remember the letter by giving it a full word or name, such a Jasper for J. Don't ask what I do when I forget that. Hahaha!

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    1. The above comments were from me, Kathy Reel. It wouldn't let me change to my name.

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  21. My car is so old that it doesn't look like anyone else's! Also, I've had a personalized plate for years (a reference to my books that wouldn't make sense to anyone else) so I never forget my license plate. I do take photos of things like parking garage space numbers. When I remember...

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  22. Congratulations to Debra and Tina, winners of the Key West cookbooks, and thank you Roberta for generously including runners-up.

    Do I ever need help! Whether it's remembering my social security number, phone number, husband's number, where I parked, what day it is, whatever. Over the years I've developed some useful strategies, such as using my phone to take pics of parking signs and other landmarks, and keeping lists on my phone. In my 72 years I've sustained five concussions and a recent TBI that had me on life support for two weeks, so my memory needs all the help it can get. I'll happily be adding the translation of phone numbers into dollar amounts to my bag of tricks to see if it helps. As for forgetting people's names, I just tell them outright that I remember them, but not their names. Often their response is along the lines of, "Oh thank goodness! I don't remember yours, either," and we share a laugh.

    And I know this is late, but I feel compelled to add a comment about yesterday's thread. You may know that falls are a leading cause of severe injury and even death, and as we age our fall risk escalates. I've begun wearing an Apple Watch, which has a fall detection feature and which notifies the people of your choice when you fall (unless it's a harmless tumble and you press the "I'm okay" button).

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