A short pencil

“A short pencil is better than a long memory,” I hear my first editor Bill Watson say every time I type something into the notes app on my iPhone.
What Mr. Watson meant was to write things down. Come across a potential story? Don’t rely on your memory. Make a note of it.
There’s no pencil involved these days, but the concept remains. I have dozens and dozens of ideas jotted down on my phone. Some have been germinating there for years, waiting for the day they may blossom into a column or blog.
When it’s time to sit down and write, I often look them over seeking inspiration. Such was the case a few minutes ago and that’s when I discovered a flaw in my methodology. Writing myself a little note is one thing. Figuring out what the note means is another.
Like this one: “I’m 18. She’s 2.”
I read that and was baffled. The crazy thing is I do recall writing it just a few days ago. What the heck?
I’m 18?
No I’m not. I haven’t been 18 for 52 years.
She’s 2?
I racked my brain and could not think of a single 2 year old girl in my life. I have a 3 year old grandson, but this obviously has nothing to do with him.
“I’m 18. She’s 2.”
I kept rolling it around in my brain as I poured a coffee and stepped out onto the front porch to pick up the Citizens Voice and breathe in some fresh air, but all I could come up with was nothing.
Back inside I flipped on the Today show. They were doing a piece on Lionel Richie. Apparently, Disney wants to produce a movie based on his hit “All Night Long.” The reporter said it will be along the lines of the movie inspired by The Beatles’ song “Across the Universe.”
I really like the song “Across the Universe” and I really like the movie, especially because my daughter made a big deal out of seeing it with me. One of my greatest accomplishments as a parent, I think, is turning both of my kids into Beatles fans.
I started singing “Across the Universe” in my head, which is the only place I can carry a tune, and that’s when it hit me. The “18” I mean. Along with the “2.”
Just like that it was clear as a bell.
I’m 18? You bet I am. That’s The Beatles channel on the Sirius radio in our car. If it were up to me, that would be the only channel we’d ever play.
But it’s not up to me. Sometime it’s up to my wife. She’s 2. That’s the Sirius channel for today’s hits. I have no interest in today’s hits.
So, when I am in the car by myself, I immediately switch the radio from 2 to 18.
When she’s by herself, she switches it back.
Who wins when we’re both in the car?
Here’s a hint. I am now capable of humming songs by The Jonas Brothers.
And I’m not happy about it.
But I am quite pleased with myself for figuring out my note.

Ed Ackerman