I looked at the date this morning, and remembered having made a point of finding a way to remember today’s date. It’s right in between my older son’s birthday, which was a month ago, and one of my in-law’s birthdays, which is May 27. (I’m not sure if it my mother-in-law’s or my father-in-law’s – the other one was May 23, so my husband always wished them both a happy birthday on May 25.)
So today’s the day. Unfortunately, I have no idea what day. Since I used birthdays to remember it, perhaps it’s someone’s birthday. But I can’t think who that might be. There’s nothing written on my calendar – but then, if it were something I wanted to write on my calendar, why would I have bothered coming up with a trick for remembering it?
There was a Cub Scout pack meeting this evening. But while that wasn’t written on my calendar, it was on the calendar at the Cub Scouts website, which I maintain. And as it tends to be on the last Monday of the month, I wouldn’t have needed to remember the exact date.
I looked at wikipedia, and found that it is the anniversary of some interesting events. For instance, on this date in 1667, John Milton, blind and impoverished, sold the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10. More significantly from a historical perspective, on April 27, 1861 Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Within my own lifetime, in 1967 Expo 67 officially opened in Montreal on this date. (And our family went there, though I have no idea what date, and I don’t even remember the trip – but I brought back a souvenir postcard pack that I used to have fun looking at.)
In 1981, Xerox PARC introduced the computer mouse. (I remember getting a tour at Xerox once, and being very surprised to find out they had the first mouse – to me Xerox was always a document company, not a computer company.) April 27 is also the birthday of Ulysses S. Grant, John Stott, and Coretta Scott King. Of course, every day of the year is the anniversary of a number of significant events and births. But I can’t see why I would care about remembering any of these.
Sometimes my memory tricks are more useful. I have finally found a way to find my car in the parking lot at work, rather than wandering around looking for it. (It’s a pretty large lot, the first twenty or so rows of which are usually full by the time I arrive, with almost thirty cars in each row. We informally refer to the farther reaches as the “north 40,” although someone pointed out to me last week that that end of the lot is actually the south end.) It stretches the length of the manufacturing plant, which has thirty numbered truck bays, and I used to try to remember where I parked by the number of the closest truck bay.
That rarely worked, however, as the number just wouldn’t stick in my mind from 8 in the morning until 5 pm. Now, however, I count the number of parking spaces from my vehicle to the end near the building, as well as the nearest truck bay. So this morning, for instance, I parked in the fifteenth space down the row across from bay 18. So I walked toward the building thinking, “15, 18. 15, 18. 15, 18.”
I imagined myself as a 15-year-old, thinking about turning 18. I tried to remember what happened in 1518. (I couldn’t remember anything, though it was the year following the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.) I imagined an office building with fifteen offices on the first floor, and eighteen on the second floor, and tried to decide how best to arrange them. And as usual when I use this method, when I left work I knew exactly where to look for my car.
I hope I haven’t forgotten anything important today. I feel rather like I have a piece of string tied on my finger (metaphorically) but I have no idea why it’s there. If I’ve forgotten your birthday, I apologize. And if you have any idea why I should remember April 27, please let me know. I’d like to be able to take off this pesky piece of string.
Sometime during the night I woke up with what must be the answer to this puzzle. I didn’t put the date on my calendar because it wasn’t the date I was trying to remember. I must have parked my car in the fourth space down near truck bay 27, and used the date 4/27 to help me remember where to find my car.
Oh well, I’m glad I didn’t forget someone’s birthday…