Today, I may or may not have accidentally displayed my competitive side to the kids at school. While they were typing up their coursework drafts, I was asked by one of them whether I would like to take part in a psychology project. Naturally, I immediately said yes. Without asking what it involved… Fortunately, it was nothing too sinister!
The test revolved around memory skills; my memory is shocking at the best of times. I, of course, won’t do anything by halves and roped in a dear old colleague to play the role of my adversary. We were given 1 minute to memorise 10 words. When that minute was up, we had to write down as many as we could remember.
Heart pounding, palms sweating, pen furiously scribbling away, etching my fate onto the page.
Before I knew it, I had counted up my words and BOOM. 10/10. Much to the disappointment, I am sure, of Mr. 7/10 (I can’t help myself… I am ridiculously competitive… Blame my mother).
Through taking part though, I realised that I make up stories, even where there are no stories. I am sitting here now, several hours later after the competition… I mean… project participation… and I can still remember the words I was due to write down.
Owl Eyes (the character from the Great Gatsby) was reading a book, while wearing a hat. He stepped outside for a moment, and observed around him the phone booth and the lamp post. His mind slipped for a second; he remembered Dan Cody and his tragic death when his boat was struck by lightning… And then the spaceship was hit by a massive arrow…
OK, it’s not the greatest work of literature in the world, but a story can be found in the most unlikely of places. To anyone who says there’s nothing inspiring around them, frankly, I challenge you to find a situation where there is no story to be told. Plus, stories are great for memory games!
And a final note to my sixth formers, I’m sorry that you had to witness my overenthusiastic victory dance… But only 4 people remembered all 10, and that is definitely a fact worth celebrating.