Memory And Brain Training For Politicians
It’s obvious that being able to remember names and faces is an asset to any politician, just as it is to businessmen. But a politician should be able to remember a great many other things—certainly he should have all the political information, at least for his home state, at his fingertips. Most of this information is statistical and involves names and numbers. The systems, of course, apply to both areas.
Most people do not know the names of their representatives and senators. If you’re among them, simply make up a Substitute Word to represent senator—tore (picture tearing), centaur, or century would do.
How Can Politicians Improve Their Memory
The senators from Nevada (elected in 1970) are Bible and Cannon. See yourself tearing a gigantic bible and getting shot by a cannon for your crime. That does it. If you’re not from Nevada, but still want to know who its senators are, get a Substitute Word for the state into the picture. You can take it further. If you want to remember party affiliations, make up a standard to represent each major party. Obviously, you can use an elephant (R) or a donkey (D), since those are the party symbols. Or, use dean (D) and hour (R), the Alphabet Words, or dam for Democrat and pub for Republican. In this example, if you’re using the Alphabet Words for your standard, you’d get whatever you picture for dean into the association with Bible and Cannon, both of whom are Democrats.
Many people have trouble remembering which symbol belongs to which party. They’re reminded of the donkey and elephant symbols during national conventions, but a short time after the election they’re no longer sure. (It’s rather like trying to remember last year’s Academy Award winners.) One fast association of, say, elephant to pub—and you’ll always know that the elephant is the symbol of the Republican party and, of course, the donkey is the Democratic symbol.
The senators from Ohio (all these examples are as of 1970 records) are Taft and Saxbe. You might see a daft (Taft) centaur playing a saxophone. That’s probably all you need to remind you of Saxbe, but if you like, you can see a bee coming out of the saxophone. They’re both Republicans, so you can get elephant, hour, or pub into the picture for each name.
Suppose you want to remember how many representatives your state has. Using Ohio again as the example, it has 24 representative —7 Democrats and 17 Republicans. One easy way to apply the system to such information is to always use a word that ends with a d or an r for Democrat and Republican—a word whose first consonant sound or sounds tell you how many Democrats and Republicans there are.
Good, goad, or cod would mean 7 Democratic representatives; tiger, dagger, or ticker would tell you that there are 17 Republican representatives. Of course, if all you want to know is the total number of representatives, just use a word that begins or ends with r. Once you decide where you’ll place the vital letter, always use it\ that way and the word will work for you. The word runner would work for Ohio if you’re placing the r first. The next consonant sound or sounds gives you the number of representatives.
You’d be surprised to see how easily you can remember the number of representatives from each state this way. Once you’ve made up the word that tells you the number, just associate that to your Substitute Word for the state. Try a few:
New York has 41 representatives. Associate new cork or the Empire State Building to roared or reared.
Oklahoma has 6 representatives. Associate homer to rash or roach.
Alabama has 8 representatives. Associate album to roof or rave.
Nebraska has 3 representatives. Associate new brass car to room or ram.
Texas has 43 representatives. Associate taxis to rearm or rear ’em.
Pennsylvania has 27 representatives. Associate pencil to rink or ring.
Tennessee has 9 representatives. Associate tennis to rope or ripe.
Kentucky has 7 representatives. Associate can’t talk to rag or rug.
Massachusetts has 12 representatives. See a mass chewing something that’s rotten.
Including Ohio (high or “oh, hi” to runner), you have ten examples. Form the associations, then test yourself—you’ll probably know the number of representatives from each of those ten states.
If you’re involved (or just interested) in national politics, you might find it useful to know the number of registered Democratic voters in particular states. No problem; just as you could remember the population of, say, Tennessee by associating tennis to ma banner touch ’er, or moppin’ red chair (3,924,164), you can associate a state to the number that represents the Democratic (or Republican, or both) registered voters. If you formed an association of a new brass car delivering a message to a new nail, it would help you remember that there are 306,225 registered Democrats in Nebraska. Get my love jailer into the picture, along with either pub, elephant, or hour, and you’ll know that there are 358,654 registered Republicans. If all you need to remember is the total registration, make up a phrase to represent 664,879 and associate it to Nebraska.
At this point you should have no difficulty in working out a method to help you remember the number of state senators and/or assemblymen in your state. New York State’s state senate consists of 57 senators—25 Democrats and 32 Republicans. Associate denial (D, 25) and Roman (R, 32) to your Substitute Word for state senate. If you’re doing this with more than one state, get your Substitute Word or phrase for New York into the picture. Associate decked, ducat, ducked (D, 71) and rake up, recoup, or rag pie (R, 79) to a Substitute Word for assembly, and you’ll know the affiliation breakdown of assemblymen. For California: state senate, 21 Democrats (donut) and 19 Republicans (retap, or retape); state assembly, 43 Democrats (dream or drum) and 37 Republicans (remake or room key).
In a quick check we asked twenty-five people, from eighteen different states, if they knew how many electoral votes their home states controlled in a presidential election. Not one person knew! And a few of them were involved in politics. All that’s necessary is to associate a state to a one- or two-digit number.
If you’re remembering other information as well, get a word into your association or Link that tells you the two things you want to know: 1) that it’s electoral votes you’re remembering, 2) how many votes. Either start the word with an e for electoral or end it with an e, or an -el. Oklahoma has 8 electoral votes; elf or fuel, according to the pattern you intend to use, would give you that information.
Let’s assume you decide to start each word with an e. For some two digit numbers, there may not be a word to fit. For example, Pennsylvania has 27 electoral votes. Finding a word that starts with e and whose consonant sounds only represent 27 may be difficult if not impossible. Simply use a word like enclose—as was the case when we discussed letter-exchange telephone numbers. Since you know that no state has electoral votes comprising three digits (the largest is California, with 45), you’d simply ignore the sounds that follow enc.
If you’re familiar with our systems, you’ll see when you sit down with any memory problem that you can easily patternize the problem so that one or another of the systems applies.
Associate mix again to end and you’ll know that Michigan has 21 electoral votes. Sassy can to egg (Kansas, 7); high to enlarge (Ohio, 25); whiz con to edit (Wisconsin, 11) ; wash to ebb (Washington, 9); potato to ear (Idaho, 4); caliph to early (California, 45); and so on.
All the suggestions in this article have been just that—suggestions. The way you patternize any memory problem is up to you. And, usually, the method you select to handle any memory problem will be the best for you.