Reading for Treasure

Don’t Forget the One That Got Away

Posted at Oct 12, 2016 11:05 am

musicStop for a minute. Relax. Take a deep, controlled breath then let it out slowly. Now get ready to—cue the music—channel your inner James Bond. Or your inner Maxwell Smart. Take your pick.

Got yourself in the right frame of mine? Good, ‘cause we’re working on our mental reflexes and quick recall today.

Imagine you’re driving along a stretch of interstate when suddenly, the jerk driver behind you zooms ahead, passing you on the wrong side of the road and flipping you off in the process. Oh, and he’d got a cell phone glued to his ear. And a gun rack on the back of the truck.

What do you do?

Chances are your instinct is to mutter a few choice words of your own, grip the wheel a little tighter and wonder if the pain in your chest is a panic attack, a pulled muscle or “the big one” that will send you to the ER.

licenseplaceBut your inner spy. . . she’d do things a bit differently. She’d stare at the license plate as it zipped past and commit those digits to memory. Later she’d phone in the info to her headquarters. Or the local police, if something seemed really suspicious about the interaction.

Of course you’re not really a spy. (If you are, let me know, I have a few research questions for you.) But practicing the technique of memorizing license plates isn’t such a bad idea. It sharpens your concentration, focus and short-term memory. It keeps you from getting hypnotized by the road in front of you. Plus it can be fun.

If you are the passenger and not the driver, you can practice snapping photos of license plates, just in case you need the information later. (By the way, if you are in an accident, take the idea a step further and pull out your camera. Record the positions of the cars and people in case someone asks for details.)

Who knows? The hot-rodding, gun-toting, cell-phone talking jerk that passed you just might be racing from the scene of a bank robbery. If so, your quick-thinking actions could make you a hero. And who doesn’t want to be a hero?

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