By Kent Richards
Published September 3, 2008
My brain is running out of memory. There's a good chance that if I continue to add more data than my brain can process, it could go into cranium overload and crash. But I really don't have time to think about that now, I'm entirely too busy attempting to recall the 7,000 or so numbers necessary to survive in modern day society.
There was a time when my organ of intelligence had a much greater storage capacity. Mainly, because the enumeration of numbers at that time was not essential. To begin with, our house numbers were only four digits. So, I could remember not only our address, but most of my friends, grandparents, uncles, even the address of the small grocery store where we shopped. Now, the only address I can remember is our present home. And to make things worse, the last number of our zip code has just been changed. So, periodically, I have to double check an envelope that was mailed to us just to verify if my zip code is 85238, or 85239.
In the pre-wireless days, our phone number was GR7-1333. It was much easier to remember, because there were no 3 digit area codes then. The one thing that I did have to keep in mind though, was that we were on a party line with 5 other neighbors. We always had to watch what, or who we were talking about, or some nosy neighbor listening in my get a real earful.
In those days, there was no need for numerical superiority for such things as answering machines, cell phones, security alarms, garage door keypads, bank deposit numbers, security gate access numbers, insurance cards, pin numbers, or the half dozen 16 digit credit cards I now have a need to carry. Today however, I'm expected to retain all these numbers, in addition to the numbers that have been a part of my life for so many years. For instance: 9 digit social security numbers, a 7 digit service number from my old navy days, my drivers license number, my favorite lottery numbers, birth dates, anniversaries, holidays, and the infinite list of symbols continues to multiply.
I have such a hard time trying to remember all these numbers that, not long ago, in an attempt to obtain information by dialing 411, I accidently dialed 911. After I explained to the police officer at my door that I had made a mathematical error, and that I was at least physically intact; he suggested I keep a list of descriptive numbers on hand. Great, more numbers!
Upon entering the age of computers, I was hoping for an aggregate solution. but if I want to access my calender of dates, use my e-mail, on-line banking, or any number of sites that I am connected to, I must first recall a 7 digit password containing a certain quantity of letters and numbers. So, to sum up this expotential problem; although I am constantly gaining numbers, I am slowly losing my marbles...!