I think its wonderful that, thanks to an American child, we can now use a convoluted sentence to remember the order in which the planets in the space above our heads and the space below our feet revolve; that is if we can remember the sentence.
But, be that as it may, the technique would be particularly useful, I believe, for people like myself who at times struggle to remember even the most basic information. I can never remember for example where I’ve left my glasses, what I’ve done with the car keys, whether I locked my house, and more often that not who I have called on the phone. “Hello, I am sorry but I can’t remember who I have called Who are you?” I am forced to say when I don’t recognise the voice that answers.
If fact there is a great deal more than just the order of the planets, or the plants, as the Cape Times called them in their story late last week, that I need to remember.
Perhaps the planets were planted in the sky the person editing the story got confused. Maybe he or she needs a sentence as a reminder about the difference between a plant and planet. It might be something like for example; Planets plough holes through the sky in which to plant the stars.
According to the report, Montana pupil, Maryn Smith, the winner of a National Geographic planetary mnemonic contest, created this sentence to remember the planets; My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants. (Mercury Venue Earth Mars Ceres Jupiter Saturn Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Eris)
We forget what we are doing and where we put things and I have recently learned, because we do not pay attention to where we are and what we are doing when we are doing it. So while I am locking my house in the morning, for instance, my mind is already at work. In other words I am not there anymore so how on earth can I remember, a few hours later, whether I have locked the house or not. Leaving the present and traveling to the past to try to recall what happened does not help, because I was not there in the past I was already in the future which is now the present. It’s all very confusing. No wonder it’s so easy to forget.
And while I am on the subject, my worst lapse of memory happens usually after I have hiked a kilometre or two from my car into the mountains. Then I have to use what energy I have to quell rebellious thoughts about whether or not I have locked my car. I have never left it unlocked but this comforting thought does little to suppress the panic. I have tried writing notes to myself. “Evelyn, your car is locked” or “Good Morning, your name is Evelyn” on a note under my pillow. But then I lose the notes.
The same with lists. I need a list of the places where I leave the other lists and still my home and car remain, like the flying Dutchman, sailing endlessly around The Cape Of Good Hope, forever unlocked. And how much time I waste looking for things I haven’t really lost.
At least I try to listen. Unlike the person I called at an investigative magazine this week who refused to talk to me because he had received an e-mail from Evelyn and was only prepared to speak to Evelyn.“Have you considered the possibility that I am Evelyn?” I said “and that’s who I introduced myself as when I called you?”
Which leaves me wondering if perhaps there is a mnemonic prize-winning child out there somewhere who can help me compose a sentence to help me pull all the things that, revolve around my life into one straight stripe. At this point the acronym, Codac, for Constantly Dazed and Confused, is about the best I can do.