Shopping: musical geek style

Background:I’m a musician, or, I was. I used to want to be a studio bassist. When I’m in the house I’m frequently singing about whatever I’m doing. When I’m walking down the street I’m not just striding across pavement, I’m beating out quarter notes with my feet. Sometimes I add in syncopated�rhythms with my hands slapping my thighs. So, when it comes to remembering what to buy at the store there’s a song for that too. Here’s how it’s made. Maybe it’ll help you remember what to pick up too. Step one:list, out loud, everything you need to buy. Everything has to have an even number of syllables. If it doesn’t call it something else, or just draw out the last syllable as you sing it. Generally you just want two syllables per item. Today’s list was:

  • pasta (tortellini)
  • butter
  • hair goo (conditioner)
  • cat shit (kitty litter)
  • waffles

Step two: order it in the reverse order you’ll be picking it up in the store. I typically go around my store counter clockwise grabbing things at the ends of the aisles closest to the side of the circle I’m on. The first item in your song is the last item you’ll pick up. This reverse ordering is critical, and I’ll get to why in a moment. If you don’t know the store you’ll be shopping in you’re screwed. Just accept that you’ll forget something and do your best. Or, write it down. That works too, but it’s just no fun. Step three:start walking. If you drive to the store then maybe you should park at the far end of the parking lot. You could probably use the exercise anyway. Step four: start singing. Each step is a quarter note. One item per step. One eighth note per syllable. I sing out loud until I get to the store to really cement it in my brain, and to myself when I get there so that people don’t look at me like an idiot for singing a repetitive tune about “hair goo” and “cat shit”. Step five: remove the item from the list as you pick it up. This is where it becomes critical to have your items in reverse order of acquisition. You don’t have to think which one it is because it’s always the last, and it juts makes your song shorter. By the end of my list of was singing “pas-ta but-ter *step* *step* *step* pas-ta but-ter *step* *step*” and then “pas-ta *step* *step* pas-ta *step* *step*” If, however my list wasn’t in reverse order I’d have to go through the whole thing each time in order to get to the item i needed to buy. This sucks with a long list, and if you stop singing when you get to the item that’s closest to you you’re likely to forget the end of the song. With a reverse ordered list the more you pick up the easier it gets because it gets a little shorter each time. Otherwise it just becomes “ …did I get that? yeah.. still need that… oh that’s two rows down but other thing is closer.” I didn’t think of reversing the order for a while and I assure you the songs were much less effective. Notes: I find it much more fun if I use nicknames for some things. I haven’t bought “cat food” ever since I saw that Far Side cartoon where the dog wrote “Cat Fud” with an arrow on the inside of the dryer door. Now I always buy “cat fud”, along with the “cat shit” (because the cat shits in the kitty litter), “hair goo” (why bother specifying the brand?), and so on. Being silly just makes it even better.