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.


Wow 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 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.

4 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 . . .


    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 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 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s