Double Deck Memorization by David W. Oaks, Perfectly! But Why? Go Extinction Rebellion!

Posted by on September 5, 2018 in Activism, Disability, Environment, Normalgeddon, Peer Support | 20 comments

Update 12 April 2019: Here is a brief video by my good buddy David Zupan from Summer of 2018 showing me, David Oaks, perfectly memorizing the order of two shuffled decks of cards (108 cards counting the jokers). As of April 2019, I have done this nine times perfectly, faster and faster. But why?

For one thing, even those of us with extreme disabilities have something to offer. I love this new group Extinction Rebellion, which uses peaceful direct action to resist the climate crisis. They call for global rebellion this Monday, 15 April 2019. Here is XR’s international website.

A few years ago, a blind friend asked me, “Don’t those of us with major disabilities just hurt the environment?” We are part of one of the biggest movements on Earth. Let us help wake up humanity about the value of supportive community, especially when facing overwhelm. Especially now!

Below this video is a blog entry after one my earliest memorizations about why I do this:


5 September 2018

by David W. Oaks

Memorizing Two Decks of Cards: Why?

Excellent home care worker, Ian, poses by our grape arbor with two decks of cards and double-deck memorizer, me, David W. Oaks.

Excellent home care worker, Ian, poses by our grape arbor with two decks of cards and double-deck memorizer, me, David W. Oaks. So, counting the four Jokers in the deck, here are a total of six Jokers!

This morning, one of my main home care workers, Ian, shuffled two decks of cards together a few times and then cut them. Each deck has the usual 52 cards, plus Jokers in both black-and-white and color. So the total number of cards is 108.

Ian laid out 18 at a time, and I memorized their order. He did this six times.

Without looking at the cards again, I then recited all 108 cards, the entire two decks, in the same order, from memory. Ian carefully validated this and my accuracy.



Extreme Disability and the Mind

As my blog readers know, back in 2012 I experienced a severe accident which not only led to me being a quad (tetraplegic) in a power chair, but because of complications I have an impaired voice and no use of my fingers.

Because my mom taught to type when I was about 12, my typing speed was faster than 110 words per minute. Before my accident, I professionally spoke in a dozen nations about human rights and mental health. In my “big picture” planning, which I enjoyed, I loved to sketch big notes on huge pieces of paper.

Now, I realize I need to use my mind, rather than notes, typing, speeches, etc. So I learned to memorize a deck of cards. My understanding is that all of us deck-memorizers use the same ancient memory technique known as the memory palace. I memorized a single deck perfectly about 15 times.

But I wanted to do more. After a few attempts with errors, today I memorized two decks combined.

But We Humans Know So Little!

Sure, I can memorize two decks of cards, but I am reminded of something: The best of current science — whether it is complexity theory, quantum, string theory, dark matter, dark energy — tells us over and over that we humans hardly have any grip on reality, at all.

We are all crazy and mentally disabled, by any definition. Our choice is to be positively crazy or destructively demented.

I hope we all make the best choice. And today, with my amazing wife Debra, we celebrate.

Hey, I just memorized two decks of cards, perfectly!

Because We Know So Little, Let’s Support Each Other!

Yes, I have several physical challenges but my cognitive abilities appear to be fairly intact, I think.

But even if you have major cognitive disabilities, or your loved one is even in a coma, everyone and everything deserve dignity and respect! This week, with the help of Vocational Rehabilitation, I worked with a great business expert, Scott Weaver, to create a business plan, consulting, Aciu Institute.

May I use any cognitive skills, and my awareness of our extreme humility, to help this for-profit benefit our community. May we all launch a revolution to challenge the “normality” of climate crisis!

Please leave your comments on this blog, of any kind, so I know you are out there.


  1. Parasites in the intestines can cause a little brain epilepsy. A little epilepsy can make you write a lot. If you starts with notes, you will write notes. Parasites containing virus in your intestines can give you short growth and make you fart: The Austrian emperor was right. To many tunes. 😀

    • You know a bite or “sting” from a spider can transfer a parasite with a virus to a human’s intestines and brain.

  2. God says: Don’t be scared. Look at the finger:

  3. I don’t know, if I was psychotic, but God once told me this really happened to someone in USA. The guy was so alone, that no one ever noticed, that he had gotten his legs back. He phoned an old friend after he had gotten his legs back, but the friend couldn’t remember, if he had heard that they where broken or gone:

    • Is it just me, or do you also get these “commercials” for “Wish” before the YouTube-videos starts?

  4. You can both ask to be “miraculous” healed and enter another dimension, where you are healed. You can also ask for scientific knowledge, and heal yourself or get someone to do it.

  5. Hi David, why not use the “ideas” and beliefs shared by a lot of mentally ill persons, that they are in contact with a “higher being”, God, universal intelligence, and ask this supersworm-bacteria or supersworm-forrest to heal you? I once read about a Native indian tribe, who deliberately took some “mushrooms” to give themselves a psychosis, because they believed it would make it possible for them to communicate with the Big spirit.

  6. Psychiatrists not only define everything by abnormal, what goes beyond their primitive worldview. Psychiatrists destroy human individuality, as a manifestation of mental abnormality.

  7. At the session of the UN Human Rights Council, High Commissioner Zeid Ra’adAl Hussein again called for the exclusion of psychiatric coercion, as an absolutely unacceptable violation of human rights.. This proposal must be supported! I suggest You appeal thither and support the resolution. Here are the addresses you need to contact: Telephone +41 22 917 9220
    OHCHR address:
    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais Wilson
    52 rue des Pâquis
    CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.

    Everyone, in whom the soul and mind lives is to support it today!

  8. Bravo David . You will always impress me.

  9. Bravo David. You will always impress me

  10. pretty impressive feat!!! i’ve actually heard of similar. took a Dale Carnegie course many years ago and was amazed by one of our teachers, he asked every one of us to give him a word, any word, we each did, at least 30 of us. One of us wrote each word down on the chalkboard behind him, and when all 30 words had been supplied, he rattled them back at us, in order. But that was just 30, you did over a hundred? Wow!

  11. Ahh my uncle David. You are amazing and super talented. Proud to be your nephew. Hopefully see you and aunt Debra soon.

  12. David: I don’t have your kind of natural recall skill, but my father is capable of doing complex math in his head. I’ve seen him add rows of four-digit numbers with his mind–faster than a calculator can. He never worked at a bank or such, devoting his career to farming, and, later on, as a prison guard.
    I told my first psychiatrist i thought I had special abillities–and that’s how my history of mental incarceration began…

  13. I finally decided to write my comment on a document, then, copy and paste.

    I, too, have an idiot savant skill. Why is it called that?I have no use for it. I can do music dictation like a whiz, or could. Where did all that talent get me? A ticket to the nuthouse! I also have a better memory than most people. I remember events and conversations, so that helps me write good memoir pieces. Again, no money from it but I find it self-fulfilling.

    • Thanks. Actually, my memory skill is similar to everyone else. I use an ancient technique called “memory palace.” Looks like we both have experienced human rights abuses related to the mental health system. May our skills help us and others achieve justice. Thanks again!

      • Yes, I agree. Intelligence and education are viewed as mental disorders. And if we are more insightful than our doctors, able to see the elephant in the room when they cannot, that’s a mental disorder