Memorizing the Calendar II
Bill Long 8/29/06
Closing the Deal
If the only day of the year was my birthday, then I could easily memorize the calendar. But, unfortunately, there are 364 and sometimes 365 other days of the year. How can one learn to recognize them immediately?
Learning the Structure of the Months
This task takes you a little bit longer to learn but, hey, the life of a savant isn't that easy, you know. If everyone could be a savant, who would just be normal? But here is how you do it. To master any other day of the year, you just have to realize which days of the month your birth-day falls. Here is what I mean. Let us take the example of 2006, where my birthday (May 15) fell on a Monday. I immediately know the following. The Mondays subsequent to May 15 are, by month:
May 22, May 29
June 5, June 12, June 19, June 26
July 3, July 10, July 17, July 24, July 31
August 7, August 14, August 21, August 28
September 4, September 11, September 18, September 25
October 2, October 9, October 16, October 23, October 30
November 6, November 13, November 20, November 27
December 4, December 11, December 18, December 25.
Working backwards, the Mondays from May 15 to January 1, are:
May 8, May 1
April 24, April 17, April 10, April 3
March 27, March 20, March 13, March 6
February 27, February 20, February 13, February 6
January 30, January 23, January 16, January 9, January 2.
If it is a leap year, the February and Janaury Mondays are moved up on day, so you have:
February 28, February 21, February 14, February 7
January 31, January 24, January 17, January 10, January 3.
Now, before you go crazy, look at how the months fall into a nice pattern. In 2006, the Mondays begin as follows:
1st of the month: May
2nd of the month: January, October
3rd of the month: April, July
4th of the month: September, December
5th of the month: June
6th of the month: February, March, November
7th of the month: August
Putting it All Together
When I go over this again and again in my mind, I realize that my mind is being "programmed" to fan out from the first Monday of the month as follows. If I say out loud "June," I know that the first Monday of June, 2006 is June 5 and then immediately my mind says: 5, 12, 19, 26. If I shout out August, I know that the 7th is the first Monday of the month, and then I immediately say: 7, 14, 21, 28. Thus, when you know the first Monday of each month, the other three or four Mondays of that month leap immediately into view. You basically have your year in your mind. Thus, if I wanted to know which day February 8 was this year, I just realize that February is a 6, 13, 20, 27 month (for Mondays), I add two days and realize that February 8 was a Wednesday. If I say "October 30," I realize that October is a 2,9,16,23,30 month, and I know that October 30 is a Monday. Leap years are a little more tricky, but you just go to the two-month leap year calendar. So, if you were in a leap year, you would pursue the "7,14,21,28" calendar for February and the "3,10,17,24,31" calendar for January.
Combining this day/month knowledge with the year knowledge of the previous essay takes a little time, but it is really quite easy. Let's take Dec. 14, 1938. What day of the week is it? Ok, first you know that 1938 is the same calendar as 1910, which is the third year in the 1908 cycle. My birthday was on a Friday in 1908 (remember Tuesday, Sunday, Friday...), therefore it would have been on a Sunday in 1910 and 1938. December is a "4,11,18,25" month, and so the 14th is the 11th (Sunday), plus three days, which takes you to a Wednesday. Thus, I can say definitively that December 14, 1938 fell on a Wednesday. This calculation took all of about 2 seconds but becomes much quicker, and almost instantaneous when you have done it for a while.
Making it More Certain--And Fun
Once you have the system down, you can improve yourself by learning the precise day of famous historical events or significant events of your life. Everyone knows some specific days of the week of past events--such as when they were married or when something significant happened to them. Combine this with the date of the Challenger explosion, the day of Kennedy's assassination, the day of hundreds of other things and you begin to "fill out" the century one day at a time. People will think you are an absolute genius if you can do this, even though if you shared your method with them they would think that you are wasting your time. But that is the irony of memorization. Mention to anyone that you are memorizing, and they think you are wasting your time. Demonstrate the fruit of memorization and they think you are a genius. Another one of life's interesting paradoxes.
Copyright © 2004-2008 William R. Long