Tag Archives: old people

The Persistence of Memory

26 Sep

I’m starting to be hindered by the mnemonic devices my teachers passed on to me.

Back when I was taught them, they were fun and no-fail ways to remember pretty much anything – multiplication tables, spelling, the meaning of a word, grammar rules – the fun never ended.  I don’t know if there’s some point in your life where you’re supposed to graduate to just knowing the information instead of singing songs in your head and repeating things quietly under your breath, but I never had that moment.   I feel like other people know their ABC’s just fine without putting them to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  I, however, cannot.  Which is why if you ask me to do the alphabet backwards, I have to sing through it forward, spout out as many letters near the area I can, and then go back to the beginning again.

It’s getting rather irritating.

I’ve worked very hard to get my multiplication tables to the point where I don’t need to sing.  Oh yes, my teachers used singing for everything.  So when going through the multiples of base numbers, I have a song for carrying me through each multiple. Like:

  • 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24… = Old MacDonald Had a Farm
  • 6, 12, 18, 24, 30… = You Are My Sunshine
  • 7, 14, 21, 28, 35… = Happy Birthday 
  • 8, 16, 24, 32, 40… = She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain 

And thanks to these sparkling hits of my elementary education, I still rely on singing through multiples from time to time.  I can, of course, spout of a multiplier without the singing.  But when I need to know the breakdown of it all, I don’t even use division sometimes.  I just sing myself a lovely rendition of Camptown Races.

There are lots more that aren’t even melody-related but still annoying all the same.  Like the fact that I always struggled to spell “aggressive” and so I relied on the cheer team’s spelling cheer: “Be aggressive! B-E Aggressive! B-E  A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E! WOOOOOOOOOO!”  Or how every time I try to spell dessert I have to remind myself it’s two S’s – like two scoops of ice cream.  Or spelling Wednesday, which I always say out loud “WedNESday” to make sure I get that little strange bit in the middle correct.

The most common is the half-song half-poem, terrible excuse for a mnemonic device used for remembering how many days are in a year, which I have to go through every single time I fill out my monthly dry erase board:

Thirty days hath September

April June and November

All the rest have 31

Except February, which blah blah blah 

I never really paid attention to the end of that one, so when it’s February I have to google it.  

So tell me, friends: do you have weird little mechanisms like this rattling around in your head?  Or did everyone graduate to just remembering without the songs, tricks, riddles, and repetition?  

I’m having visions of myself in an old folks home mumbling over and over to myself:


My Slow Transition Into Old Fartedness

8 Jun
Old Lady (cropped)

Pic by "Greencolander" Click it to check out their Flickr PhotoStream.

Last night I set up a Twitter account.

You can check it out in all its glory on the right hand side of the page.  There should be some sort of “Tweet Tweet” nonsense I wrote and then some tweets posted and then a little place to follow me.

It took me an hour and a half.

An hour and a half.  No joke.  I’m in my 20’s.  There’s absolutely no excuse for that.

I remember back in elementary school when I got to go to the computer lab and play Oregon Trail.  That was some awesome stuff.  It was cutting edge – right at the tip of the tech-savvy iceburg.  Along with perforated printer paper, making celebration banners, and going to chat rooms.

That was back before they were all dirty.

I remember learning all the different territories in Canada and meeting someone from Canada in a chat room and being SO STOKED that I could tell them I knew all about their country.  I had an early hotmail account and then one of the early gmail accounts when hotmail wasn’t cool anymore.  MySpace, Blogger, blah blah blah. I remember when my college finally got Facebook (back when my parents couldn’t join) and explaining it to other people on campus so that they’d get on and see how awesome it was.   If it was on the magical Interwebz and it was trendy, I mastered it.

But then Twitter showed up.

I didn’t really get Twitter.  It’s really just a bastardized version of the Facebook news feed and I didn’t see the appeal.  I logged on back when it was blowing up the world and I remember creating my account and immediately dismissing it.  What was the point of just reading 140 characters or less about all of these people when I could just go to Facebook and do the same thing but also have access to pics, links, notes, info, and social groups?

But alas, my blog is growing (hallelujah, amen for people who like to read dribble) and apparently I need to Twitterize myself to be more accessible.  So last night I moseyed on over to greet it again.  I sheepishly apologized for dismissing it the first time around and pretended to not still carry disdain as I set myself up with a few modest accounts to follow, a pic, a bio, and my first Tweet.

It took me a hell of a long time.

What if this is just the beginning? What if I start to lose touch with all the new, trendy, young kid things? I don’t mean Bieber and Gaga, I mean actual catalysts for change in society.  I can’t tell you how many articles I had to read in order to understand what a meme is.  Now I know and I feel like an idiot.  I had to read articles to understand what a meme is?!  And when I first decided to fire up a WordPress blog, I can’t even tell you how much I had to read and click and search to put together something half decent.  I’m still pretty annoyed that I’m using a cookie cutter theme, but I’m just too old and dumb to figure out a snazzier alternative right now.  Could this be the beginning of me closing myself off to new experiences in technology and rattling off about the good old days when music wasn’t invisible and we actually had to buy cassettes?  

Yes, I am aware that readers of this blog can go back further than that.  Kudos to you, my friends, for being able to remember albums and managing to follow a blog.

I can only hope I’m as successful as you. 

Hey, while we’re on the subject of old farts, check out my favorite well-spoken old fart blogger at http://crabbyoldfart.wordpress.com. You won’t regret it.




I Blame Old People

24 Jan

I’m convinced that the world would be a much safer place to live in if old people didn’t have cell phones.

Or maybe just less annoying.

Listen, I’m really sorry to have to be the one to say this because making fun of old people supposedly shortens your life expectancy, but I’m willing to take one for the team.

I constantly hear people complain about “these kids and their cell phones” on the road, in conversation,and at the dinner table.  And I certainly agree that unfortunately technology develops and improves faster than the rate of our etiquette.  Remember how long Facebook was out before we all collectively decided it just wasn’t okay to run around poking people or plastering personal information of an embarrassing or degrading nature on each other’s walls?  And we’re just finally getting to the point where we are pressuring people to stop posting personal, individual-related, emo status updates. 

So I understand.  I really do.  I don’t like a gum-chomping, oblivious teenage cell phone driver any more than the next guy.  But I have to admit that when I look around on the roads, I see a lot more old people doing it.

When I’m stuck behind a car that isn’t hitting the gas within 3 seconds of a green light, it’s not always a youngin in the front seat.  And when I’m out in social situations, it isn’t just the kiddos who are pulling out their cell phones in the middle of conversations. 

 I was attempting to cross the road to my house the other evening and spotted an older woman in a minivan full of children (presumably her own) approaching an intersection with her texting phone propped up on the steering wheel, eyes fully locked on the keyboard.

I’ve also heard far too many times that “these kids” constantly google things on their phones when in the middle of a conversation.  And that is definitely true.  I’m not really sure how it’s considered a flaw to want to end a debate quickly with the introduction of fact, but that’s another issue entirely.  The point is that we aren’t the only ones.

Dave and I had the pleasure of a few friends visiting us this weekend, one of whom was a baby boomer and came with his iEverything in tow.   Within the course of three hours, I witnessed him walk around my house scanning the barcodes off of random products in order to demonstrate an app’s ability to find the lowest price available in the local market for that item.  He also used his iPhone to google something and end a slightly charged debate about the date of Leslie Nielsen’s death.

And when we were at dinner, he couldn’t resist scanning the barcode on his beer bottle.  You know, just to see.

So stop blaming us.  Because as much as cell phones may be a product of our generation, we are not solely responsible for bearing the social and safety foibles that result from it.  We all are.  And for every kid who thinks they can eat fast food, drive stick shift, and text their buddy at the same time, there is an old fart attempting to read a text from her best friend while running through an intersection with a van full of kids.

And don’t get me started on the inappropriate things that old people post on their children’s walls.

So hey – I’m not solely blaming old people.  I’m just blaming them enough to balance out the blame that has been thrown onto young people’s shoulders all these years.    All of us are very excited about the cool things we can do with mind-bogglingly tiny gadgets.  And we are all very excited to explore their possibilities at all hours of the day regardless of whether it is a social faux pas or a safety hazard to those around us.

So let’s just stop pointing fingers and start spending our time updating our rules of etiquette.  Because I think we could all benefit from agreeing on a few things.  Let’s start with agreeing on how we’re all to blame.

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