Apr. 6th, 2017

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Don Rickles came to mind the other day because I needed him as a placeholder in a mnemonic I was constructing, and I recall wondering—at the time—whether he was still among the living.

That question was answered today, with the announcement of Rickles' passing. Like a lot of people, I suppose, I laughed loud and hard at his material, while at the same time wondering how the heck he could get away with that kind of thing.

The end of Rickles caused me to review the faces and personalities that populate a couple of "systems" I came up with many moons ago, and it occurs to me that, for the most part, the overwhelming part of that population is no longer among us.

It's only natural, I suppose. Back when I concocted these "systems," I had to rely on names of people who were familiar to me—more than familiar to me—I had to be able to visualize them vividly, so as to create memorable mnemonics.

Which may explain why my system includes Orville Redenbacher, with his glasses, bow tie, popcorn, and (in my opinion) somewhat goofy smile. He is my number 4.

Lauren Bacall was also a member of my little eclectic group, clocking in at number 16. I didn't any kind of day-to-day intelligence regarding Bacall's appearance or activities; I really didn't need any, given that there was quite a bit of material available in her filmography (The Big Sleep, anyone? To Have and Have Not?).

The "systems" do not consist entirely of famous people. An old chess friend from when I lived in Jacksonville is in the group, as is a close-up magician who mentored me for a while when I lived in Buffalo.

In the end, Rickles is unforgettable. He will always be my Four of Clubs.

Cheers...

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