Finally it has become apparent why President Bush used to say, "Read my lips."

Recently, I have learned that the president of the United States uses code words, especially when talking about the Persian Gulf crisis.This is very mysterious, and it would be nice to know why.

C.B. Scott Jones, an aide to Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., was the first to notice it. He focused on a recurring code word in presidential speeches that can be heard only by listening to them backward.

The word is Simone.

Jones claimed that he picked up the word for sure because he is working with a group of psychologists who have spent hours listening to the speech tapes backward. Jones is a former Naval intelligence officer who is assigned by Pell to study paranormal phenomena.

Jones said that reversed audio tapes can reveal through occasional words or phrases the hidden or coded thoughts behind normal, forward speech.

This is a fascinating phenomenon to me.

Ever since I read this account I've been listening more carefully not only to President Bush's speeches, but to all speeches and statements everywhere I go.

Sometimes I surreptitiously record what people say and then run home and play it backward so I can tell what they really meant.

During the political campaign, for instance, I listened to a couple of speeches by congressional candidate Karl Snow. When I played them backward at home, the word SELF-DESTRUCT emerged as the obvious code word. I had no idea what this code word meant - until Snow's last ad in the campaign against Bill Orton was published in Utah County.

When I listened backward to speeches made by Stanley Pons, I expected to hear FUSION, but the code word ESCAPE kept popping up instead. I didn't understand that one either until Pons put his house up for sale and fled to Europe.

When Dan Rather addressed a broadcasters convention, I thought the word KENNETH might be the logical code word, because that was what the famous mugger called Rather when he attacked him last year - but instead it was SUSPENDERS. Those of us who watched the election returns on CBS now know that was the secret of Rather's high ratings.

But who knows how long they will hold up! (The suspenders - not the ratings!)

Everyone who is waiting for Ty Detmer to win the Heisman trophy could figure out what the code word would be for him, but listening to his press statements backward reveals the code phrase, GET OFF MY BACK. He might have meant a running back or a quarterback, but it's an intriguing phrase anyway.

You can see that this new technique has exciting potential to help all of us discern what our problems are and get along better in life.

All we have to do is carry a pocket recorder around with us, and whenever anyone talks to us, we smile, nod and listen carefully. But before we agree to anything big, we run home and listen to the recording backward and find out what this person really means.

This could help us decide whether to accept that interesting new job that was offered.

It could help us decide whether the car salesman we've been talking to is actually trying to snooker us.

It could help us decide whether to accept that proposal of marriage.

It could help us decide whether to grant permission to our teenage son or daughter to go to that strange party on the weekend.

The possibilities are endless.

The only thing that puzzles me is one time when the technique didn't work. The only speech that has not worked the way I thought it would when I played it backward was one by Roseanne Barr, who was reminiscing about the happy times of her Utah girlhood. The secret code phrase I picked up was SGNIS YDAL TAF EHT LIT' REVO TON S'TI.

I've racked my brain and I just can't figure out for the life of me what that one means.

Maybe I'm too backward.