I started a few memory exercises years ago. People used to memorize poems, but I’ve never been one much for that. Even for my own poetry. (Which, I remind myself, I really ought to be able to recite, at least my favorites.) Come to that, I can’t even recite complete Beatles lyrics in the shower, even though I’ve listened to each of those songs a dozen thousand times.
One of my memory exercises was to recite all of the Presidents of the United States of America, forward and backward. Another was a long Monty Python sketch, forward-only. The third was to memorize and recite all of the winners of the Best Picture Oscar(R) award from AMPAS, not just backwards and forwards, but odds and evens years, random access, whatever. It occasionally comes in handy in crossword puzzles, when the clue is “Best Picture (year)”.
I’ve lapsed on all of these, in recent years. Last night, I decided to recite the Best Picture winners from 1980 to the present, and it went okay, until I got to the last three years, the elevensies. The aughts were hard to remember, I had nearly as much trouble for the thirties and the fifties and sixties, once upon a time. Got those down. But the recent ones are more and more difficult to remember.
2009 was The Hurt Locker. Okay. Got up to there. So, 2010, 2011, and 2012. 2012 was Argo, I remember that because I was like, “WTF? Argo? It was okay, but Best Picture?” And then I stuck on 2010 and 2011. For an hour. Eventually I had a brain spark and shouted, “The Artist!” But I couldn’t remember whether The Artist was 2010 or 2011; even so, there was one missing.
In vain, hopeless, I searched the “cable-channels-of-movies-on-demand” for help, and “The Descendants” (2011) came up, and its precis said it was an Acadamy-Award-winning movie. I recalled that it was nominated for Best Picture, but it didn’t seem stored in my memory as the winner for whatever year that was (just one ago, from this one).
Damn, dang, damn, damn, dang, damn, dang, dang, argh. What was the one?
I had this idea that there were two (or three?) “The _________” movies in a row. So, “The Hurt Locker” and “The Artist” were at least two, so the third “The ___________” was what? Or was it just two? So those were the only two “The ___”‘s?
Finally, 24 hours later, I looked it up, looked into it. “The King’s Speech”. FeCK! Right. Of course. That was 2010. “The Artist” was 2011. So there *were* three “The ___”‘s in a row.
It’s always easy to remember when you read the list, and then go “ohhhh yeahhhh.”
Now, I just need to remember how to recite my poems. I only ever wrote poetry for a year and a half or so, nearly 20 years ago. As if the Muse came and then fled. I wrote a bunch. All memorable, so I can take up the task of memorizing them, because they’re mine, my words, my poems, and I need something to recite while I’m in the shower.
Something else to put on the docket for 2014, besides the other stuff.