When Joe wants to remember something, he "puts a ring out."
He has a set of about five brightly-colored plastic rings that are really a child’s tossing toy. They're all in a basket on a bookshelf in his office. It’s his habit to use them whenever he knows he wants to remember to do something. He’ll announce: “Remind me to 'put a ring out' so that I’ll remember I have a dentist appointment tomorrow.” Although I’ll respond dutifully with, “OK,” you can be sure I’ll come walking downstairs in the morning, and of course, seeing the ring on the floor by the front door, I'll be highly amused, only to think, “Hmmmmm…now what the hell is it I’m supposed to be remembering?”
Every morning, we fix breakfast, relax at the table, and pull out all the newspapers. I used to be impressed by Joe that he read so many papers every day, until I learned, early on, that his real reason for buying so many was to get the sports pages in each paper. Turns out this works quite well, because when I read the papers, the very first thing I do is yank the sports pages out completely: they can go directly to the recycling basket as far as I’m concerned. I head directly to the front page section of the NY Times, then head to the Arts section, or the House & Home sections. Last, I’ll read the Business section, which lately has been rather dismal.
“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.” (-Mark Twain)