Two Chickens on an Iceberg – An Adventure in Memory

[photo by Stephanie Bolling]

I’m a forgetter.

Recently my friend Liz and I were sent to the supermarket to put together a salad for our friend, Thomasin. Over the phone she listed 5 ingredients and the dressing. Liz had no problem remembering, but I figured I would forget something.

Until I used an old trick…I set up a room in my head, and I pictured two chickens on an iceberg (stay with me).

One was wearing a Packers Cheesehead hat and eating a cucumber, the other was laying an egg and eating some peas. A sign floating nearby pointed to their destination – The Thousand Islands.

Besides being a disturbing view into my brain, it was my picture of Thomasin’s salad…

* iceberg lettuce
* cheese
* cucumber
* egg
* chickpeas
* 1000-islands dressing

This is a new technique to me, but it is an ancient technique known as Method of Loci (some call it the Memory Palace). We tend to remember things better visually, and by setting up an unusual picture in a familiar place, we can remember abstract thoughts more effectively.

Give it a try. I’ll build your first room for you – picture a room with just a ceiling fan and a clock covered with snow. Now you should remember that in the winter your ceiling fan blades should be turning clockwise.

What are your best memory hacks? You may have already told me but I forgot.


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