“Ever?” I asked.
“Never! It’s been like that since I was a kid. It doesn’t matter how many people come in.”
Skeptical, I walked into the small sub/sandwich shop, after standing in the open door behind a line of others, waiting. Crowded, people walked around others picking up their orders. “How can we help you?” asked the girl behind the counter. Giving her our order, she repeated it, but never picked up a writing tool. We moved to the side to wait. “Next,” she said. Another person gave their order, considerably longer than ours. Again, she repeated it, but never picked up pencil or pen. Adding more brown lunch bags on the counter and picking up a finished sandwich, she placed it in one of the bags, filled a drink and added French Fries. “Here you go, Sir,” she said smiling to a specific customer. Paying her, he picked up his order and left. I noted the line was as long out the door as it was when we first arrived. Still she filled orders, while another cooked. One other girl was behind the counter helping fill orders. None of them ever wrote a single thing down. Looking at my husband, the girl said, “Your order is ready, Sir,” as she handed him our bag.
I was amazed at the accuracy of the orders, given how complicated some of them were and the number of customers she had spoken to. “How do they do that?” I asked. "I have problems remembering what I’m doing from moment to moment, much less any orders!"
One of my granddaughters is learning her ‘times tables.’ There is a process, but to be able to answer quickly, memorizing the problems with the answers is the only thing a student can do. I remember in fourth grade being called on during math class and standing to recite my ‘times tables’ in whatever number the teacher designated. 1’s and 2’s were easy, 5’s a cinch, 6’s not bad, 7 through 12 were a bit more challenging. But we all learned our ‘times tables,’ because the last thing any student wanted, was to be called on and unable to recite quickly. That was beyond humiliating!
Our young people still learn the ‘times tables,’ but there isn’t much else that requires memorization requiring reciting. Since we work so fluently on the computer, everyone knows how to use spell check. Our young children use calculators in early elementary math classes, and reciting poetry is rarely done anymore and adults use planners every day to keep focused.
Why memorize anything? It may seem, at a young age, it’s ridiculous to memorize ‘stuff.’ Yet, as we age we quickly learn in the work place, it is invaluable! Consider the professional in the medical field, or an accountant doing taxes, the lawyer remembering specific information, or the scientist doing research or even a teacher in a classroom! If each of these people had to look up every piece of information before speaking, to assure accuracy, he would never accomplish anything.
Aside from the “professional need” aspect, studies have shown using our mind is like using any other muscle in our body. If we neglect it, it’s going to decay much more quickly.
Disease may still strike, but it’s reassuring to know, if we work at it, we may be able to counter natural negative effects just like regular exercise will hold physical deterioration at bay! I challenge you to strengthen your mind by a predetermined decision to exercise it! Memorize something!