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Friday, July 19, 2013

Rhyme Time


I doubt you lie awake at four in the morning, wondering which thoughts amble through my mind at four in the morning.

But I’ll tell ya anyway.

Just before 4 a.m. this morning I got out of bed to use the bathroom. Next, I fed the cycle by getting a drink of water. In opening the fridge I remembered three things to add to my grocery list. Fumbling in the dark kitchen, I found a red ballpoint pen and scrawled a short grocery list. This led to an image in my mind of a grocery store whose name always makes me smile: Piggly Wiggly. Naturally, this name led me to remember a phrase I recently read in a book and found absolutely delightful: higgledy-piggledy. (Higgledy-piggledy refers to something done in a  careless or disorganized. Two other phrases that also mean disorganized also self-rhyme: helter-skelter and pell-mell. Ironic that these rhyming phrases mean something that is not organized as the rhyming sounds give them a bit of an organized sound. Oh well…the mystery of words…)

On a roll, I’ve jotted down a few other phrases that are memorable and playful because they rhyme: righty-tighty; okey-dokey; Laffy Taffy; pooper-scooper. Rhymes are fun. (Or is it that someone like me—who loves words and silliness—finds rhymes delightful? Either way…)

Do rhymes help our brains to remember things? Certainly. The human brain is fascinating. For all that scientist know about the brain, there are parts that are still a mystery. I love that my brain is busy categorizing things and making associations, even at 4 a.m., when I’m more asleep than awake. Let’s retrace my thought chain:

Bathroom—drink of water—grocery list—Piggly Wiggly—higgledy-piggledy—rhymes.

Like me, you may have moments when you can’t remember how or why you got onto a tangent. I often stop myself mid-sentence and ask those around me how I got to talking about rhinoceroses, for example. Genuinely confused, I ask, “What were we talking about? Sewing? Politics? Volkswagen buses? Oh, who knows?!”

The brain certainly is an amazing organ. Sometimes I cannot quiet my brain in the middle of the night. It wants to figure things out, and my body wants to rest. A tug-of-war. Thankfully, my body usually wins and I can sleep.

I’ll bet you’re glad I was able to get back to sleep at 4 a.m. today. After all, you were the one who insisted that I explain the bathroom-Piggly Wiggly connection!

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