Brain Strength…All About Numbers

The reporter looks eager… but not for numbers..

My gentleman friend has a brain that is very different from mine. He can remember numbers–any numbers–license plates, square roots, dance steps, addresses. Me? I’m lucky to remember my age. Exact numbers have always been like a foreign language to me. If I need an address or phone number, I write it down. If I’m asked about square roots, I pretend I didn’t hear the question.

I do remember some things. I remember Yvonne Lanagan showing us how to diagram a sentence. We saw the differences between the nouns and the verbs and the adverbs and adjectives. In adult life, I’ve never ever had to diagram a sentence.

But my gentleman friend who spouts square roots as if he is a computer, says he has in his working life, used square roots. Really?

So why are brains so different? I worked with a guy who also had the number brain. He remembered phone numbers and license plates from long ago and, and still does. I must meet a person five or six times before even the name sticks with me.

Lately, because of my age, I now forget things I should know like the name of the street right outside the entrance to my community. I Google my address (if I remember that) and see a map and then get the name of the street. I think of Google as my personal Godsend.

But back to numbers: My late husband was pretty good with numbers, too. His script handwriting was horrible, but when he wrote numbers, the writing was clear and even. I sometimes write a list of numbers in a line that is wavy. I can’t always tell if I’m in the right line of numbers. I can add pretty well, but when the list is wavy–I’m not sure of the results. I can use a calculator, but sometimes I lose my place and have to start over. Or I forget to put the period where it is supposed to go and once again, I have to start over. Doing my income tax this year, I had to add 12 numbers. I got four different answers. I gave the list to my gentleman friend and he got a match to one of my numbers right away. I used that number.

Of course numbers are used by young men a lot. “How was the girl you took out last night?” “She’s a 10, maybe an 11!” I’ve never been one for those numbers. My gentleman friend says it’s what “inside” that matters. I guess I’m somewhere around a 6.5 or if you count sort of good health in old age and I have my own teeth–maybe we could stretch to an 7.

One good thing about me and numbers is that I was taught old school, before most calculators and cell phones. I can usually guess “about” what an answer should be. I remember once sitting in a meeting with our Vice President of Finance and a question of numbers arose, I did a quick calculation and thought the answer should be about 700. He and his calculator popped up with an answer that was 17,000 and it was little old me who popped up and said that “couldn’t” be the answer and I was right. Yea, old school.

Numbers I am familiar with are numbers on a scale. I am currently trying to lose weight and so far I’m down about 10 pounds. You can’t see it on me because I started pretty high. Every morning I’m on the scale and the numbers do tell a story. Numbers in old age tell other stories as well: blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and body mass index. One number I have memorized and for some reason don’t seem to forget is my Social Security Number. I know the whole number and the last four digits, as required. Whoopee for me.

As for my license plate, I know the last three digits, 611, but to know the whole number, I have to look it up.

My gentleman friend knows 300 line dances and their counts. I know four. That says it all.


2 responses on “Brain Strength…All About Numbers

  1. This is such a fun post! I’m great at math, used a slide rule when I worked for NASA, and, remember birthdays, but license plates, drivers license, and, things like that are not in my memory bank!

  2. Enjoyed this post tremendously! Got a few laughs out of it as well, having “been there” myself. People who can remember long numbers and do math in their heads fascinate me! In the great scheme of things, all brains have their individual varied talents; I guess just in case we’re ever needed. For something… for anything. You have a great many valuable compensatory talents, different as they may be from your gentleman’s. And, like Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say”!

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