Last Peg = “Saw”

This last one stands for the digit 0, Zero, and the Z in “zero” sounds like the S in “saw.” A saw is easy to visualize. I usually picture one of those gigantic, two-man, tree-sized, back-and-forth manual saws, and two enormous, burly lumberjacks engaged in sawing off disks – shaped like zeros – from the end of a huge tree trunk laid sideways. Everything is big and loud, and easy to remember.

For convenience, we use zero to memorize the tenth item in our shopping list, so we can have ten items without going into the second layer of the system. We need to remember that the tenth item on the shopping list is “wine,” and I’ll just picture myself sawing off the top of a wine bottle with a hacksaw. This is nutty enough to be easy to remember.

Go with me for a moment, now. We’ve been at this for about two weeks. When was the last time that you could remember a shopping list for two weeks, without writing it down or even trying very hard? I’ll bet you remember ours, without any effort:

What’s the first item? What’s in the spinning Disneyland teacup?

What’s the second item? What’s going up the ramp into Noah’s ark with the animals, two-by-two?

What’s the third item? You’re looking at yourself in the mirror in your best tuxedo or wedding dress, and you see . . . what?

What’s the fourth item? There’s a ray of green laser light coming out of something.

What’s the fifth item? The traffic cop, holding up his hand with five fingers . . . there is something between his fingers.

What’s the sixth item? Lurch (or the Frankenstein monster) has something clenched in his enormous, undershot jaw.

What’s the seventh item? The heavy, huge key is unlocking the door, and …

What’s the eighth item? You’re paying an outrageous fee for what?

What’s the ninth item? The princess and her pea, but there’s something else here.

And the tenth (for which we use zero)? What am I doing with the saw?

I’m not going to insult you by writing the answers, because I know you can’t help yourself – you’ve remembered them all. But I will put down a quick table to summarize the entire first layer of the system, moving zero to the top of the list, in numerical order:

Number Peg Word Consonant Sounds Mental Picture
0 Saw S, Z Lumberjacks sawing
1 Tea T, D, Th Spinning teacup ride
2 Noah N Noah’s ark, animals 2-by-2
3 Me M Yourself in the mirror in outlandish clothes
4 Ray R Laser beam, sci-fi ray gun
5 Law L Traffic cop holding up hand
6 Jaw J, Sh, Ch, Frankenstein monster
7 Key K, G, Ng Heavy bronze key
8 Fee F, V Handing over money
9 Pea P, B Princess, nine matresses

I’ve been using this system to remember lists and passwords and phone numbers and account numbers my entire life, and it’s never failed me. We’re going to move on to the next layer, giving you PERMANENT pegs for lists of up to 100 items in any order for as long as you like. This will be more work and a longer adventure than tea, Noah, me, ray, law, jaw, key, fee, pea, and saw, but there will be lots of sidebars and stops along the way to take in the view.


~ by rebcabin on December 2, 2010.

One Response to “Last Peg = “Saw””

  1. […] in hex, so we don’t need the full power of memorizing in base-64. We already have picture words for digits 0 through 9 (saw, tea, Noah, me, ray, law, jaw, key, fee, pea), and we can increase our story-building power by […]

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