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DAD'S MEMORY TIPS ARE MIND-BOGGLING

As near as I can tell from the rather cryptic report, the only thing difficult about the first day of school for my daughter was memorizing a locker combination and coordinating clothes with her friends. That is unless you count actually opening the locker, which probably doesn't really need to be mastered until the second day.

I tried to help. "You have an easy number to remember, 24-12-36. All you have to remember is the first number and that is especially easy. Your oldest nieces were age 2 and 4 two years ago. Then take the first number and subtract 1 from the first digit and then subtract 2 from the second digit.Two minus 1 is 1 and 4 minus 2 gives you 2, so the second number is 12. To get the third number add 1 and 2 to each digit of the first number respectively. You get 2 plus 1 equals 3 and 4 plus 2 equals 6. This makes the last number 36, Alternatively, you could add the first number to the second number and get the third number, but your friends might figure that one out."

"Maybe I could just write the number on the locker."

"I know that sounds easy. But take it from someone experienced in these matters, it doesn't work. For example, once my dad and I got into some great fishing on Dear Crik Reservoir and my dad told me we should remember the spot for next time. It occurred to me that we could mark the bottom of our rental boat with a piece of chalk or something. My dad reminded me that next time we might not get the same boat. You can see from this that writing the number on the locker won't work. Next time you might get a different locker."

"Maybe I could just write the number on my shoe or something."

"Same problem. What if you put your shoes on the wrong feet, then what?

"I'll write it on my hand. I do get the same hand every day."

"Look, let's try something easier. My birthday is in December, the 12th month. Just remember that I look twice my age, so you multiply my birth month by 2 to get the first number. Then remember that if I exercised regularly, I'd look my real age, so divide the first number by 2 to get the real month I was born. After that the third number is easy. Just remember that I'm 36 years old."

"You want me to remember a lie?"

"No. I'm just trying to help you remember your locker number and as long as you get my birth month correct the year isn't that important. Besides we can't have all dates easy to remember like your mother. She was born in 1946. If you reverse the last two digits, you get her graduation date from Highland High School, 1964. See how easy it is? And it can work for your locker combination too. "

"Daaaaaaad! DUH!"

"I know it's hard to learn a locker number, but that's what dads are for. I even had to devise a way to remember your mother's name. It was easy before we were married. Her initials them were PAM, Pamela Ann Metcalf. I found that all I had to do to remember her name was to remember her initials. Now that I put a B for Baker at the end . . . well I don't forget Ground Hog Day or Veteran's Day or her name."

Interruption by older brother: "Why don't you just remember the number?"

"Please Jay, Don't try to make this difficult for your sister."

"Yea, DUH!"

"I've got it. Isn't that combination the reverse of Barbie's measurements?"

Brother interrupting again: "If I remember correctly, the cubed root of the age of Mick Jagger, times pi (rounded to 18 decimal places), gives the first digit of your combination times the atomic weight of uranium 238."

"Please don't interrupt, Jay. Besides, it isn't necessary to make all those calculations when you can just remember Uranium 238. Two is the first number of her combination and 3 is first digit of the last number. If you add the last two digits together you get 9, which is one less than the 8 in the Uranium isotope."

"Could you write me an excuse for tomorrow?"

"What's the problem?"

"I'll never learn my locker combination."

OK, let's keep it basic. X is the 24th letter of the alphabet. The 12th letter is L, so remember XL, the Roman numeral for 40. Since there isn't a 36th letter in the alphabet, you just take the sum of the squares of the licenses plate numbers issues in Utah in the past year and. . . .