Read The Memory Palace Online

Authors: Lewis Smile

Tags: #Education & Teaching, #Studying & Workbooks, #Study Skills, #Self-Help, #Memory Improvement, #90 Minutes (44-64 Pages), #Education & Reference

The Memory Palace (2 page)

Now without a bicycle or a faster mode of transport than your two legs, you borrow 3-headed Nixon's line and despair "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!". Maybe you could hitch hike? Maybe you should just sprint as fast as you can? Pogo stick? Unicycle? Steal a car? You just need some form of transport, anything really, or you'll never make it in time.

Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Clippity Clop. Cloppity clip. Clip. Clop. Music to your ears. Over the hedge at the end of the road you see a man on a horse. He's dressed in Roman military uniform, elegantly riding his white steed, holding his sword aloft. What a beautiful sight. Clip Clop. This must be
Julius Caesar
, the next play on our list.

Politely, cautiously, you ask the Roman General if you can borrow his horse. You are running late after all.

"No! You can't borrow this one, but I do have another you could use...". He whistles loudly, to summon the beast, and from around the next corner comes hurtling a raggedy old
donkey
. He skids to a shambled halt next to you.

"This donkey,
this ass
, is yours, if you'd like it?" With that, your new donkey, your new ass,
starts licking your hand
and arms and face. Gross! Gross, but useful. This ass, licking you, is useful for remembering that our next play is
As You Like It
. You climb up into the stirrups, sit yourself down in the saddle, and grab the reins. Now we're talking! We'll get to the theater in no time on this faithful steed!

"Thanks Caesar!"

As you look over to Caesar, shock shock horror. From the nearest driveway a big fat pink pig comes galloping out into the street, snorting and angrily oinking, gaining speed, aimed straight at Caesar! Perfectly on target,
this big, hammy, pig
slams into Caesar's back and knocks him off his horse. Not a good end for Caesar, assassinated by this brute! Still, this hammy lump is useful for us because our next play to remember is
Hamlet
. All of the ham. Easy!

And now there's a mad pig on the loose! You shout for help, but there's no one around to save you. Can your donkey outrun this pig? Hard to tell. The pig does look pretty determined.

"HELP!"

This isn't how you want your day to end.

Oh, worry not! Your saviors are here. From the very same driveway the pig emerged, an entire regiment of Knights are marching, swords held high. There are loads of them. A quick count... there are 12! Wow. Talk about overkill. 12 Knights to take out 1 wild pig? Easy.

Gulp. The pig goes into a frenzy. The fight is brutal, and aggressively fought. The pig takes out knight after knight after knight. The last remaining Knight, however, fights valiantly and slays the pig. There are bits of armor and bits of pig everywhere. The pig is conquered, and the hero of the hour is the
Twelfth Knight
, our next play, as he stands proudly over the defeated body.

KACHUNG-THWACK!

KACHUNG-THWACK!

Our
Twelfth Knight
hits the ground. He scrambles to cover.

KACHUNG-THWACK!

He hides behind the nearest car. From across the street, arrows are flying. Our remaining Knight suddenly leaps out of cover with his shield held high, ready to do battle with whoever is firing these arrows.

Out of the driveway opposite staggers... a troll!

Oh, what vomit-inducing stench! Oh, what a horrible sight! You are witnessing the lumbering movements of a gigantic
troll
! He has a
crossbow
in his hand, and he is marching-fire against our lone knight, who can do little but take cover under his shield and advance toward the troll, helplessly. This troll with a crossbow must represent our next play,
Troilus and Cressida
.
Troll with a crossbow
... this is too dangerous for us! Ride! Ride! And don't spare the donkey! The knight will be ok on his own, probably. Or he will at least put up a brave fight.

Zipping away from the scene of the battle, you head to the nearest bus stop. These mean streets are a bit too wild this morning. A bus is guaranteed to be safer, right? Surely.

You hop off the donkey, pat him on his withers, and tie his reins to the bus stop. He stands patiently and waits while the bus trundles down the road towards you.

EEEE TSSSSH!

The bus stops, and the doors slide open. As you go to step onboard your path is blocked by a big yellow measuring stick hung horizontally across the doorway. The sign above it reads "You Must Be This Tall To Ride", just like the signs outside roller coasters. Aha! Our next play!
Measure for Measure
. You are taller than the sign, but instead of ducking under it like a normal person you just smash straight through it and hop on board.

You rummage around in your pockets to get some money to give the driver, but instead of taking your money he hands you a long scroll of paper and a quill. You don't have to pay this time, you just have to sign this oath. Are you going to read the small print? Nah. You quickly sign your name. Free bus ride, and our next play!
Othello
!

Moving to the middle of the bus to sit down, the only seat available is next to a really creepy guy. He's wearing a long smelly trench coat, has horrible matted hair, and is leering at you in a horribly suggestive way. Oh, and he's wearing a crown for some reason. You slowly, reluctantly slide in to the seat next to this leering man, and realize this must be our esteemed next play,
King Lear
. Just keep your eyes to the front and try not to breath through your nose.

Looking for a distraction, you look around at the other passengers. Anything interesting going on?

You glance to your side, and lo! In the seat next to you on the other side of the aisle is super famous Hollywood actress, Anne Hathaway! You can't possibly miss this opportunity, you simply must talk to her. "Do you have the time, Anne Hathaway?" you hazard, as an excuse. Clearly this must be a set up to help us remember that
Timon of Athens
is our next play, asking the
time of Anne Hathaway
. But that's not important right now. I mean, it's Anne Hathaway! Isn't she pretty? Isn't her hair just lovely? Wasn't she good in that film? What was it called? Batman Wears Prada? The wheel is come full circle. Now YOU are the leerer. Anne looks at her watch and says something that you don't hear...

Because you've been distracted again.

Anne Hathaway is no longer the star of the show...

You are stunned.
You are speechless.
You are hearless (not a word).

Not only is beautiful Anne Hathaway sat here on the bus right next to you, but she's also sat next to William Shakespeare himself! And they're holding hands! Here is the man himself, sat next to his darling wife Anne Hathaway. This isn't even a trick to help us remember another play. Shakespeare was ACTUALLY married to a woman named Anne Hathaway. Wow. Good work Shakespeare.

You rudely lean across Anne Hathaway's fine figure and try and strike up a conversation with The Bard, telling him about how you are off to see one of his plays performed this very day, and that you've also been learning the names of all his others. He just sits quietly for a moment, eating his McDonalds breakfast, saying nothing. When he does respond, you kind of wish he hadn't. With his mouth still full of
McDonalds
burger, every syllable brings forth a spit, flying through the air towards you. Gee thanks. Shakespeare's McBurger has now covered you in McSpit. Lovely. In a really gross way, this whole
McDonalds McSpit
episode has taught you a valuable lesson. After Timon of Athens, the next play on our list is obviously
Macbeth
.

You are getting off this bus at the next stop, so wipe that spit off your face and stand up you disgusting person.

Sadly, our task may not be as simple as walking to the front of the bus and hopping out the door. The bus has been hijacked! At the front of the bus, demanding all our money and our seats, is
Tony the Tiger
, and his pal
Leonardo DiCaprio
. They're waving swords in our direction. Tony yells that if you could sit back down that would be gggrrreeeaaattt, and Leo makes a threatening face. Your plans for the morning might just have to change to accommodate this new development, our next play
Antony and Cleopatra
.
Tony and Leo
are really threatening to upset your whole schedule.

But do not worry!
All is well!
Maybe. Hopefully this will all end well, because leaping up from his seat directly behind you is...
Orson Welles
, straight from Hollywood! He's wearing his tuxedo, of course, and he looks ready for action. Hopefully he'll go into a rage like that scene in Citizen Kane where he wrecks his office. Standing in the middle of the aisle now, you see him do something rather unusual. A talent you didn't know he had. Like the Hulk, he is transforming, but only his hands are affected! He has these two giant hands,
swelling up
, on the end of his normal arms.
Orson Welles hands swell
enough for him to use them as a weapon, and one punch - SPLAT - finishes off our Tony and Leo. Orson Welles hands swelling have pancaked them into the ground. This whole Orson Welles palaver is our next play, the delightfully named
All's Well That Ends Well
.

Stepping off the bus onto the reliable firm concrete, you are almost convinced the worst is behind you.

Hopefully things are beginning to calm down.

Marvelous - just in time for breakfast, you spy a fruit stall a bit further down the road. As you walk closer, wondering what juicy fruit to choose, the fruit stall owner hurls a
pear
at you. A Comice pear, if you are curious. A really big one. He throws another, which you try to catch but miss because you never were very good at catching. He keeps throwing these damn pears at you, and as you get closer you notice that our abusive fruit-stall-owner pear-thrower is
John Cleese
! Well this is a turn up for the books. Maybe John Cleese is filming a Monty Python scene right now, and you are a part of it? You wave at him good-naturedly just in case. Walking onwards towards the theater, you realize John Cleese must be here throwing pears at you to help you remember the next play on our list,
Pericles
.
Pear-Cleese
. Easy!

The theater is now in sight. Your seat is less than a minute away now, and you start speeding up toward the main entrance. This has got to be the most famous theater of all... Shakespeare's Globe! The theater is a real treat to visit, and here it is before your very eyes.

Listen! What sweet singing! Blocking the door to the theater is a large group of carol singers, singing their little hearts out. While they are good singers, and good at swaying from side to side it seems, you really don't have time to stop and listen. You quickly note that these carol singers are obviously to remind us of our next play,
Coriolanus
, which is absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing at all to do with an anus. In fact, there's nothing at all in this carol singer scene to even hint at the second half of the word Coriolanus. Anus. Anus. Anus. That's weird. Surely this would have been the easiest vivid, crude, loud, memorable image to create, right? Weird. Oh well. Definitely no anuses around here! These carol singers are still anus anus anus singing as you anus anus anus push through the crowd anus anus toward the door.

Oh dear. Moving on...

You reach out to open the door to get inside at last, when it suddenly flies open with considerable force and only narrowly misses your face! Close shave. If your face were twice as large, that door would probably have hit you on it! Barreling out of the now wildly open door is a
sprinter
, dressed in his white sprinter's Lycra. He bashes you out of the way as he sprints by, and a horrible pink fleshy tail extending from his... rear... hits you across your normal-sized face and sends you to the ground. You just got beaten up by the
sprinter's tail
! The fact that this is our next play,
The Winter's Tale
, doesn't make the pain any less painful.

You scrape yourself off the floor and walk inside as if nothing at all embarrassing just happened to you. Blimey, you are so cool.

A healthy contrast to the beautiful carol singers outside the theater, we now have another band lined up inside the foyer. It is a band composed of nothing but the bashing of
cymbals and bells
, and man oh man do they sound awful. They are clearly going for nothing but volume, as if they are having some kind of duel with the carol singers outside. You cover your ears to stop the horrendous racket from seeping into your head. This horrendous cymbals and bells band is our next play,
Cymbeline
.

Looking around you, it is obvious that you are not the only person here who dislikes the terrible noise. The conductor himself has turned a redder-red-than-his-own-jacket with anger at how badly the band is doing. He is in a rotten
temper
, shouting and spitting with rage, maybe even saying a naughty swear word a few times. He is waving his conductor's baton around ferociously, in a simply rotten
temper
. He is like a violent storm of hate, which is both concerning and useful. You don't want to get caught up in this, but you do make a mental note that this must be our next play,
The Tempest
.

You slink past this wild angry scene and head for the main theater hall.

You sigh. A HUGE sigh. A bigger sigh than you've ever done or ever even seen on TV. Because our next play is the last of it! Although the last, not the least. We are at the end, so pay close attention...

Utterly exhausted by everything that's happened so far, so utterly spent is your energy, you are not sure you'll be able to even stay awake for this show, you slump down into your theater seat the EXACT MOMENT the curtains get pulled back to reveal...

Henry the 8th
, proudly standing center stage. This is finally our last play, and also the play you have been trying to see all morning. Hurrah. Henry VIII. Behind him are his 6 wives, some with heads already lopped off and some just looking worried, and next to him is... a cannon. Aimed at the audience.
And he's lighting it.

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