One night I awoke with a particularly random thought in my head. Halfheartedly, I reached for a notepad by my bedside, and scribbled “Recycle Rex.” To my surprise, the next morning the note actually made sense. Which led me to draft a proposal for my public relations client, the California Department of Conservation, to partner with Disney Productions to create a Tyrannosaurus Rex character as the state’s mascot for recycling. That the “Recycle Rex” project proved to be an unprecedented success serves as my constant reminder to write stuff down, to always trust a notepad over my memory.
Not relying on my short-term memory has little to do with my age, 65. The name of that prehistoric “spokesdinosaur” came to mind more than 30 years ago. The availability of a notepad was useful then just as it was for many years prior and forever since. It’s just convenient and good mental hygiene. I respect my creative intuitions more than my memory.
I not only keep a notepad at my bedside, but also place at least a half-dozen others strategically and copiously around my house. There’s a 4×6 tablet and pen on my work desk and in the exercise room. There are pads at the top of the staircase to list my daily activities and at the bottom of the staircase to take on walks. There’s one in my car and in my wife’s purse. Another pad in the kitchen serves as a grocery shopping checklist. And, as back-up for my analog method, there’s the Notepad and Reminders phone apps.
While I suppose this activity confirms my undiagnosed obsessive, compulsive disorder, it likewise confirms one or two other qualities: 1) I humbly respect the limitations of my short-term memory and/or 2) I arrogantly believe each and every indiscriminate thought to be worth preserving?