RaceHorses

I am an accountant in Kentucky with dyscalculia and my strategies for keeping numbers straight are becoming inadequate.

Traditionally, what I do is break down all numbers into two-digit numbers, and translate those two-digit numbers into dead racehorses. (I invented this strategy when I was 6.)

So if the number is 4188.72, in my head it's, Whirlaway Macbeth II Riva Ridge. (The Kentucky Derby winners in 1941, 1888, and 1972.)

That way I don't transpose the numbers. Without doing that then 4188.72 might end up 1782.48 when I write it down -- But since that would be Omar Khayyam Apollo and Citation, which is drastically different than Whirlaway Macbeth II Riva Ridge, my strategy keeps it straight.

Three-digit numbers -- like say 347 -- become "Cavalcade & Jet Pilot" (I use the 4 twice and picture the horses facing each other).

(I have black and white photos of all the Kentucky Derby winners from 1875 to 1974 that my dad gave me when I was five years old, so I can picture the horse and the name very clearly.)

Five-digit numbers are my nemesis, which is why zip codes are the worst. The clerk at the post office always checks the zip codes for me because she's great, but it was really busy there on Monday and she missed one. It was disasterous.

The other problem was that several times on Monday morning, I caught myself daydreaming about stuff that isn't bookeeping, because I broke the rules on Sunday night and read a novel.

I hate math and find it very difficult to focus if I have even the slightest mental distraction. No music, no window, nothing to eat or drink at my desk, and no reading or watching TV on a work night.

(I always wanted to be a writer and my brain leaps at the opportunity to think about how I would have written a story differently than the writer, or what kind of story I might write on a similar subject, etc. Basically fiction is my addiction and even though I gave it up 100% more than 5 years ago, I still am constantly on the verge of a relapse.)

I tried memorizing all the zip codes in 3 counties, but I just couldn't find a way to make the numbers match the personality of the towns because without the racehorses', numbers have no personality, and when I tried to use two racehorses with a single number in between, I could never remember the single number in between, even when I tried it in Spanish. So I can sort towns into George Smiths and Old Rosebuds and Regrets, but that's not really good enough.

If you have any idea on the five-digit number problem, I would appreciate it beyond words.