December 5, 2006

Keeping Track

While no one will argue that measuring your efforts or maintaining a diary are good ideas, the story of Robert Shields from Dayton, Washington is truly remarkable.

For the last twenty years of his life, he meticulously chronicled every single thing he did and thought. He recounts everything he ate, every piece of junk mail he received, the weather, including temperature and humidity, inside and out, medications, prayers, bodily functions, and even the time spent typing his diary.

Believed to be the world's longest diary, it also includes such curiosities as samples of nose hair taped to the pages, as well as price stickers from meat purchased at the supermarket, and accounts of how he never slept more than two hours at a time so he would be able to remember, and thus record, his dreams.

A transcript of a radio interview and a sample page from his diary are both fascinating.