I cannot remember the names of the seven dwarfs

Andy Crooks writing as Andy C
2 min readNov 5, 2020


Our memories for everyday tasks are not reliable.

You might be like me. I can’t remember the names of the seven dwarfs. I usually get five, struggle with the sixth and hardly ever get the seventh. And I forget a different name every time.

Doctors have completed surgeries and sewn the patient up, leaving tools and sponges inside the poor victim’s body. They just forget.

Pilots have tried to land a plane without lowering their landing gear. They forget to remember.

The answer to all of these is a checklist. If I had a list of the dwarfs’ names, I would have all seven names. If doctors have a checklist to review before the patient is closed up, they remember to make sure they have everything out that should be out. Pilots have landing checklists to make sure the wheels are down.

Checklists are handy and useful because we forget, even for routines that we have done thousands of times. It seems the more routine a series of functions is, the more it seems that we forget something; familiarity can breed contempt and lack of attention.

My days are best when I start with morning prayer and meditation together with a review of my day ahead. I know this from experience. My morning routine consists of about 12 elements.

But I often realize partway through the morning that I forgot my prayer, meditation, review of my day, to ask God for guidance, or omitted a request for the power to avoid self-seeking or dishonest motives.

And like the seven dwarf’s names, I forget different items on different days.

Pilots and doctors resisted checklists for decades, claiming that lists were for amateurs, and they would not make such trivial mistakes in routines that are so familiar. I fought morning checklists for much the same reason.

Finally, I admitted that a morning and evening checklist would be a good idea and went to the Big Book and looked at the questions on pages 86 and 87. Those questions are a checklist. Now I have a take-off and landing checklist for the day. And I don’t have to rely on my memory, as I do to recall the seven dwarfs’ names. (You can print my checklists from the4thdimension.ca > worksheets > checklists.)



Andy Crooks writing as Andy C

For Andy C, not drinking was the first spiritual awakening. He’s been blessed with subsequent spiritual awakenings as the results of the 12 steps.