Third Major Peg = “Me”
The third item you need to remember is “celery.” Put yourself in the . . .
mental picture: standing in front of the mirror, you see a long, thick strand of celery fiber stuck in your teeth, and it stubbornly resists your efforts to pull it out. You also see bits of celery leaf all over your clothes. What a mess! Embarrassing means easier to remember.
number: 3. The lower-case letter ‘m’ has three “feet on the ground.”
consonant sound: M, another singleton, like the N of Noah. We won’t get another cluster until number 6, then it will be all clusters after that.
Henceforth and forever, whenever you encounter the number 3, you will think ‘me’ and you will visualize yourself in the mental picture. Better if you’re dressed in unusual clothes — a new tuxedo or a wedding dress (unusual is easier to recall) and if you experience some strong emotion on seeing yourself – negative or positive, it’s up to you, whatever is easier to remember. There are individual differences: some people find positive emotions easier to remember and some people find negative ones easier. The sole purpose here is memory, so just pick one and make it stick.
It’s important that you fix a particular mental picture of yourself and lock it in forever. We don’t want to be distracted by changes due to age or environment. We want a mental picture that is instant to recall and easy to associate visually with logically disconnected things like celery.
I’m sure you remember the entire shopping list, now, without effort in any order. The first item (in the Disneyland teacup)? The second item (going into Noah’s ark)? The third item (with ‘me’ in my out-of-place clothes)?
With practice, you will be able to make up these mental pictures automatically any time you encounter a list to memorize. You will also find that the lists don’t get crossed up if you pay just a little extra attention to them. I can easily hold five or six different lists for days at a time and recall them without a mistake. It’s fun, easy, and empowering.
Here are some tips for forming long-lasting mental pictures, quickly:
P – make them personal, directly for the number 3 with yourself in the mirror, and indirectly for other numbers, meaning think of yourself in the picture, involved with the teacup, or with Noah and his ark, or with the other mental pictures you will learn (after three layers, you will have 1,110 of them, eventually)
E – exaggerate. Make everything bigger or smaller, faster or slower, louder or softer than normal. The more ABnormal the mental picture, the easier to recall
C – colors. Many people, though not everyone, find garish colors easier to remember than drab colors. If it works for you, use it frequently.
A – absurdity. See a clown at a wedding or a minister at a birthday party. A bird driving a car or a cat flying. The more ridiculous the better.
M – motion. Many people, though not everyone, find moving pictures easier to remember than static pictures. If it works for you, use it (it does NOT work for me, by the way, so this is just general advice).
E – emotion. Most people find emotive pictures easier to remember. Anger, Hunger, Desire, Embarrassment; those are the biggies. If you need to remember something longer, make the emotion really strong. No one knows what you’re thinking and the purpose is memory, so use what works for you best and don’t worry if it’s rude or crude.
To remember those tricks, note they spell out ‘PECAME,’ which sounds like PECAN, and pecan pie is easy to remember – you either love it or hate it.
I also have to say, here, that I don’t actually use “me” in my personal peg system. I use “May” and picture a maypole. But I have found that younger people have never seen a maypole, so this peg does not work for them. I have tried “ham” as a peg for 3, but that’s not useful for people who don’t eat it and wouldn’t commonly use it for a visual image. The point is, pick a permanent mental picture that works for you, lock it in forever, and NEVER change it if you can help it. We’ll discuss this more when we get to the second layer of the system.