I've always been fascinated by the heavens so it's not surprising that clear back when I was a kid I learned the mnemonic to help remember the planets in order from the Sun...

I've encountered quite a few people who know this same one or with slight variations, but I'm always surprised by how many people don't know it at all.  In the interest of sharing for those who are less enlightened and in the interest of humor for those who do, here it is, along with an experience I had passing it on to the next generation. 

Many Very Early Men Just Sat Up Nights Playing

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the first letters stand for the first letters of the respective planets.  However, a few years back when I was a Merit Badge Counselor teaching this to a roomful of about 30 church-sponsored Boy Scouts as part of the Space Exploration Merit Badge (No, it wasn't Astrology--not yet!) they didn't seem to catch on.  So, in response to a roomful of deer in the headlight looks, I proceeded to go through it, letter by letter to illustrate.  So go with me here:  "Many - Mercury; Very - Venus; Early - Earth; Men - Mars; Just - Jupiter; Sat - Saturn; Up - Uranus....."

Ah, yes, our friend, Uranus, whose name makes it far too easy to inadvertently make a very bad pun, no matter how you pronounce it.  Amid laughter that exploded like a water balloon hitting the sidewalk, my mind raced with how I could possibly recover from such an incredible faux pas, the entire time all too conscious of the fact I was in a church gymnasium surrounded by Scout leaders of all varieties.  When the last of the laughter had subsided, I somehow stammered out something like, "Well you get the idea..." and managed to carry on with some modicum of dignity, though I couldn't help but notice that the scoutmaster was facing the wall, shoulders shaking, apparently having more trouble gaining control than his young charges.  While my mortification managed to keep me under control at the time, I must admit I laughed myself silly all the way home.  Since then I've found that the most common pronunciation in astrological circles is yur-ONN'-us, which helps a little, at least.

At that time, however, I figured I'd hopelessly marred my reputation as a serious merit badge counselor, even though I somehow knew that everyone in that room would remember that little mnemonic for the rest of their lives.  As it turned out, they must not have held me in too low of regard, however, because years later I was still receiving announcements when those boys went on to earn their Eagle Scout Awards.  And I'll bet there's not a one of them who can't name the planets in order from the Sun.  How about you?

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--Timing is Everything--

If this story made you laugh, you'd probably love our Naughty Natal report.

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