I was about to write something really awesome in my blog, but my roommate asked to check out the fingerprint reader in my new laptop (which I was happy to show him), and then I forgot what I was going to write. It’s regrettable, but I truly have a terrible memory. If I were to rate my memory as compared to the world as I know it (people I interact with on a daily basis), I’m probably in the 10th percentile, if that. That is, some 90% of people have a far better memory than I do. My only consolation is that I rate my computer expertise, similarly, in the 99th percentile.

What astonished me today is that C.S. Lewis, a man I greatly admire, reportedly had a terrific memory. (Isn’t it funny how the opposite words ‘terrific’ and ‘terrible’ differ by only 3 letters?) Here’s a quote from a book by Art Lindsley.

Lewis said that he was “cursed” with not being able to forget anything that he read.

Sometimes in his rooms at Oxford, Lewis would play a parlor game, asking a visitor to pull any book out of his extensive library and read aloud a few lines. Lewis would then proceed to quote the rest of the poetry or prose verbatim for pages. … 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. …

Lewis commented to Richard Selig, an American Rhodes Scholar, “The difficulty is that I remember everything I’ve ever read and bits pop up uninvited.”

“Surely not everything you’ve ever read, Mr. Lewis?”

“Yes, everything, Selig, even the most boring texts.”

Selig goes on to test Lewis, who proves that indeed, he remembers the entirety of even the longest and most seldom-read poems. Simply amazing.

One Response to “Forgetfulness”

  1. katy says:

    He would be perfect for trivia game shows. Jeopardy champion.

Leave a Reply