Read by Number or Color by Number?

Before nano-processors in your pocket did all the memorizing for you, back in 1974, a fad whispered and died before anyone knew it existed — memorizing numbers for profit and fun. I wasn’t interested in fun and profit, nor in memorizing my mother-in-law’s phone number,  but I was interested in reading numbers. To cut to the rabbit hole, the concept piqued an interest that is still peaking..

Parlor tricks interest me less than basketball in a mad enough March.

Any of the way, it’s formally known as the Major System.

Bill, you major in minor interests don’t you?

You are correct, Sir. The more arcane and uninteresting the endeavor, the more profound my fascination.

Let’s say you have trouble remembering an all-important number — such as 42.

The sound of a 4 is R. The sound of a 2 is N. RN ran Iran ron run rune rain


But what if you need to remember your towel and don’t have a word/number number/word dictionary at hand. Problemo No-o. W counts as a consonant in Arabic, but not in the language of System-Major.

Identify two (2) consonants — T and L. T sound denotes 1. L sound denotes 5.


Vowels are not explicitly expressed, so choose the consonantal combo that works for you.

Now turn your word-number/number-word dictionary upside down and look up the number 15. What have we there? What have we?

Let me explain something — the number 1 can be a T, the number 1 can be a D. This is something I call the Ta Da phenomenon.

But Bill, does this have anything to do with German language?

Of course it does. When I taught German (a lot) it seemed important to invent a hokey-butt theory to explain similarities between German and English. My theory posits that the original Saxons, on their way to the British Isles, decided to celebrate their immigration by tweaking German into something that could become English. They did this en route. No one has ever reported this language-building event for the simple reason that none of it actually happened.


Are you trying to say something, Bill? You lost us in Calais.

Yeah. The language-building team chose phonetically related consonants to do stuff like. I’m like, like you know, like instead of UTTER like say like UDDER — just to be different I guess.

Bill. We’re in the other room watching madness march, we can’t hear you. Titter, titter.

Tidder, tidder.

Let us look at another pair here: B to V.

Über-over oben-above eben-even.

Wer hat eine Frage? (Does anyone have a question?)

Could you close the door, Bill. We’re watching the game.

Thanks for reading.

Author: Bill Ziegler

I am a former resident of Delhi Township. These are memories of my life and times in that community during the 1950s and 1960s. A time capsule.

14 thoughts on “Read by Number or Color by Number?”

  1. I wonder if we recall ‘phone numbers quite readily due to converting them into mini pieces of (not quite) rhyme? Do you know what I mean, Bill? You can take pretty much any 7-digit number and make a little poem of it. I think . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Actually I like that a lot, Hariod. My ear-worm-infested brain is enormously fond of rhymes; in fact I still remember a phone number sung in a radio commercial that fed fledgling ear worms from the 1950’s. A dry cleaner perhaps. Now, what are the chances of finding said jingle on the latest issue of The Daily Internet? Should you (or another kind reader) wish to spend this very Sunday researching the lyrics to that phone number (complete with the two alpha extension BEchwood, here are the lyrics to that ancient jingle — “Beechwood 8-9745”. Good luck and (from the John Ciardi) good words to you 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Interesting, H; though I can’t get my head around the concept. How, for instance, would ‘8545701’ be made into a poem?

      (Incidentally: good to bump into you here! It’s a small blogosphere, innit? Also: haven’t heard from you for a while, hope all is well with you.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the inquiry, Peter. I had never noticed that touch-typing parallel until just now. However your observation provides some serendipity — a mnemonic for associating the left index finger tapping from the letter R to the number 4. Reinforcement through repetition is key. “Finding hidden patterns is fun” ‘bound to be the very next phase’ (Donovan) 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Fascinating!! I find patterns, connections, just fascinating! I don’t how you find all these things but you continually feed my already over-burdened brain with new madnesses!! I like it a lot………..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi outsidersinsides, I am so grateful for your very kind comment and encouragement — particularly helpful since many of my interests lie outside the worn familiar paths that provide comfort to most of the homo sapiens who distrust those who deliberately choose that “path not taken” (from the original Robert Frost).
      The “news” generated by news-gatherers gets repeated constantly, using the same words and reaching the same conclusions until another “new” event arrives in the news-cycle to drone ad nauseam. O.J. Simpson white Bronco car chase, 9/11 coverage that riveted everyone to the same repeated images. Enough people follow these broadcasts constantly, to the exclusion of living their own lives. My advice is to deliberately direct your attention away from the latest Big Brother stuff and to focus on the stories that they are not covering, or something completely unrelated or seemingly unrelated. For example, critical thinking leads you to the truth of veganism — something that should be obvious.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have always chosen the ‘path not taken’, (I love Robert Frost) and I so agree with you about the ‘news’, the way they repeat and get the same words and images in people’s minds, to instill the narrative they want, making people think they know the truth, what’s happening, but they haven’t looked at anything at all for themselves, but they ‘know’ ; I know many people who watch and fixate on the news constantly and swallow everything they are told and really don’t think their own thoughts anymore. I think you are so right about getting your attention away from all the mainstream crap, but it’s like people get addicted to it and can’t pull themselves away, they are under a spell. I haven’t had a TV for years and read and watch all kinds of different stuff. I have learnt so much, but it makes it increasingly difficult to relate to others who refuse to even start looking away from the mainstream. They can’t make an effort to find things out for themselves, they won’t do it. It drives me crazy.
        Yes, exactly, critical thinking leads to the truth of veganism- but how many do it? They would rather taunt and jibe and justify, than to actually step back and look at what it means. That would mean actually having to do something, and shock horror, maybe changing what they do!!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Sorry for the delayed response, particularly since it evoked so many crucially important insights that I plan to write about real soon now. So I’ve just now noticed my non-response. Dang it all to heck!
    It’s disorienting to encounter the vast majority who do not think independently and questioningly. Ignorance is the coin of the realm, and con artists know how to profit by sleight of hand moves. Not watching TV is one the best choices available if you want to ward off the continuous drone of vicarious living, deriving mental nourishment from wide-ranging perspectives reveals the vacuous content of 10,000 channels. I read a science fiction story many years ago about an advanced civilization on a planet with continuous cloud cover. It would get light in the day and dark at night, but that is all they knew about anything beyond their clouds.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s okay, I’m never exactly swift myself. I am intrigued by your ‘insights’ and look forward to reading the posts from them!! That is exactly it, ‘disorienting’, and it becomes more and more obvious, more intense, the more you ‘wake up’, it can be a strange experinece and very ‘disorienting’, hard to adjust to. ‘Ignorance is the coin of the realm’ – so, so true, I love that. Getting rid of the TV was the best thing ever, it just sucks your mind away, the ‘metal teat’, as someone called it, it lulls and programmes, becomes an addiction, but sadly people can’t conceive of a life without it, it is the focus of the room, isn’t it??
    I think I read that story too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 5 04720 02727 86 8 284 41 8 10 364 0013 984 1 651 9 171 2 0650

    … or, to put it another way:
    Holy Zarquon’s Singing Fish! I’ve never heard of this ‘Major System’ before. It should be taught in schools.

    (Kind of a sidetrack, but the link you offer ( suggests that one use of this system might be to memorise credit card PINs. I disagree: as one can have more than one card, it’s necessary to link each PIN to its card. Some years ago, I came up with a Baldrick-style Cunning Plan to do just that. I suspect you may find that of interest. Maybe?)


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