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big round numbers, processes of thought

so this is entry 500.

a while back i think i might have mentioned something about using this entry as a reflective entry - go back over my entire journal, find interesting entries, point to them, see how much i've changed, how much i've stayed the same, etc. etc.

All of my instincts scream against that, however. I don't like placing significance to big round numbers. I hated the hype around the year 2000. I hate the hoopla surrounding Strong Bad's upcoming 100th email. I even get bothered by the fact that when people ask "what time is it?", the answer they get is almost always in increments of fifteen, even though recently i've been adopting this practice as well.

I think people latch on to these kinds of things because they're easier to remember - the only issue with remembering a number like 100000000000000000 is figuring out where all of the commas go and giving the "1" placement a name. But ask someone to remember 859741528521774, and that would take much more effort. People would have to *work* at it, and unless they feel like they're going to gain some sort of profit (real or abstract) or gratification, they wouldn't bother.

When i was a freshman in high school, a few of my friends got me into memorizing pi. It was vaguely about the competition (see who could memorize more numbers, see who could rattle 60-70 digits faster), but mostly it was just for fun, for the hell of it. It was a way to stimulate the brain because we wanted to keep our brain active.

It's odd to me that people who do that kind of thing in *any* context aren't usually revered, they're considered geeky or obsessed. "Obsessed" sports fans know all of the vital statistics of their favorite team since 1950. "Geeks" spend their spare time doing logic puzzles or learning a new programming language for fun. The ability we have to find answers to almost anything on the internet makes those that prefer to live in ignorance nervous.

One of the big issues i was facing when i first got a cell phone had to do with the Contact List. The idea of using a menu or to have Caller ID flash a contact's name as opposed to using their number scared me because i feared i would lose the ability to remember people's phone numbers. My roommate wouldn't be able to recite more than three or four phone numbers from the people on his contact list off the top of his head if his life depended on it.

for a while i dealt with that by not using the contact list at all, but since then i've come up with a way to use it that makes me happy: all of my contact "names" are the person's first initial followed by their telephone number. That way, whenever i thumb through the contact list or whenever i receive a call, I always see the number.

But even this has diminshed my memorization of the phone numbers slightly for one of two reasons:

1) for people that aren't in my area code, all i need to do is look at their first initial and area code and i know it's them - i don't need to identify them by their full number. So i know that Dave is 812, Peggy is 614, Deanna is 412, etc. etc., but i couldn't tell you what their actual 7 digit numbers are.

2) after a while, it becomes automatic that I identify a contact by the... "look" of their phone number without actually *reading* their phone number. I make what i can only describe as an instant "translation" of the number to the contact person. I mean, if i had a contact named John, but on my phone i decided at random to name him "pink fluffy chair", eventually I would see "pink fluffy chair" and instantly think "John" without having to acknowledge the existence of "pink fluffy chair" at all.

I don't know... maybe i think about this kind of thing too much, but it's always those sorts of little details that I never want to be made easier for me because I fear that it will make my need and want to actively think less and less. I think that's another reason why I want my LJ to be more of a thought journal over an event journal - i don't want my journal to merely be a recitation of things that have happened to me. I want my journal to reflect something deeper, if for no other reason than to provide me with an outlet to keep my mind exercising, active, and alert.


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March 2017