Pick A Number

This is absolutely astounding, from C.S Lewis’s Case for Christ by Art Lindsley, P. 19.

Once when I was invited to his rooms after dinner for a glass of beer, he played a game. He directed, ‘Give me a number from one to forty.’ I said, ‘thirty’.

He acknowledged, ‘Right, go to the thirtieth shelf in my library.’ Then he said, ‘Give me a number from one to twenty.’

I answered, ‘Fourteen.’

He continued, ‘Right. Get the fourteenth book off the shelf. Now let’s have a number from one to one hundred.’

I said, ‘Forty-six.’

‘Now turn to page forty-six. Pick a number from one to twenty-five for the line of the page.’

I said, ‘Six.’

‘So,’ he would say, ‘read me that line.’ He could always identify it – not only by identifying the book, but he was also usually able to quote the rest of the page. This is a gift. This is something you cannot learn. It was remarkable.

He is talking about C.S. Lewis, and his amazing gift of memorization. Lewis has been considered by many an intellectual genius, “cursed” with not being able to forget anything that he read. That’s one “curse” I wouldn’t mind receiving!

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