I spent yesterday cleaning out my room. One, because it is dump. Two, because I'm moving out in a month. It will probably take me the entire month to decide what I should bring (My Best of Styx album is in, my slipper socks are out.) I guess I never realized just how much useless junk I actually own. I still have papers from a theology class I took as a sophomore. I found an artist's pad with drawings of mine over ten years old - I remember everyone telling me what a talented artist I was. . .everyone was wrong. What a bunch of morons; I was awful.
After sifting through a small forest's worth of papers I stumbled upon the books. On one shelf, Huckleberry Finn, Lord of the Flies, and The Great Gatsby. On my dresser, The Essential Rumi, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Sailing Around the Room, Mere Christianity, and The Apple That Astonished Paris. On my art desk, Faithful: The Boston Red Sox, Creating An Empire ESPN, Witness To Hope, The Best American Sportswriting Of The 20th Century, The Annotated Thursday and David Copperfield. Wow, it is becoming blazingly apparent that I'm the lost child of Rivers Cuomo (lead singer of Weezer) and Anne of Green Gables (a fictional character created by Lucy Maud Montgomery).
I thought I liked to read. But it seems I like to read the same way Tiger Woods likes to wear red. This "like" presents an issue or two. Of course, the biggest quandary is which books I'm taking with me. So began my discernment.
The Great Gatsby is in, F. Scott Fitzgerald is the first and only true emo bless his distraught heart. Huckleberry Finn is out - I've never liked Mark Twain's mustache. The Best American Sportswriting is in, edited by David Halberstam, thus making it the Bible for every student of journalism. Witness To Hope is out - don't cast stones. I've read George Weigel's book inside and out, it really is more of a screenplay than a biography. I think I'll casually leave it on Patrick's dresser. I'm passing on David Copperfield and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I imagine I'll have enough drama and anguish to deal with without the help of Dickens and Betty Smith. Sailing Around the Room and Rumi are both in. Rumi is really tiny and Billy Collins really quirky which are sufficient enough reasons for me. Lord of the Flies is out, no books with kids eating kids. Faithful is in, of course. Creating An Empire is out, I get enough ESPN as it is. That leaves Thursday and Mere Christianity.
I've always loved Lewis and Chesterton. Very few people under 25 appreciate their minds and works. Very many people under 25 refer to CS Lewis as, "Oh yeah, the Narnia guy." Which makes my hair spontaneously stand on end. CS and GK have nearly singlehandedly given me the ability to reason theologically, wax philosophically, and to argue...and win. But never, in a million years, never, would I have guessed they would get me a date.
Yes, you can go back an reread the last sentence. That's right - no stutters or typos. As unlikely as it may seem, it is true. Chicks dig CS Lewis. But before you walk up to a girl at a bar and say, "Christian allegory really brings out your eyes," finish reading. Working at Caribou Coffee can get really slow between 11 and 2. And your entertainment options are fairly limited. I've taught myself how to juggle milk spatulas, balance the whip cream shooter on my nose, and flick espresso beans fifty feet across the store. Sarah, a girl I work with opted against whip cream nose tricks and flying beans. Rather she picked up a compilation of CS Lewis' works. As a milk spatula struck me in the head I turned to comment on her book.
"I love CS Lewis," I said passively.
"Yeah, he's pretty good" She replied unconcerned.
"People think he only wrote Narnia. They don't have a clue what a brilliant philosopher he was." I continued.
She looked up at me this time, slightly surprised, a little skeptical, and perhaps a smidge amused. "Did you read Mere Christianity?" She asked. Now Sarah was beginning to throw some punches.
"Of course, but I like The Screwtape Letters more." Know your strengths. I like Mere Christianity but I can quote The Screwtape Letters.
"Oh my goodness, so do I!" Sarah exclaimed, unable to contain her surprise that I did, in fact, know CS Lewis' writing beyond Narnia.
I thought I was getting close to passing this interrogation so I dropped my nuclear bomb of CS Lewis knowledge. "You know, if you like CS Lewis, you should read some of Tolkein's and Chesterton's works, the three of them were friends."
DING DING DING DING DING and after the fourth round the winner is ME.
When Sarah came to she asked, "Do you want to get something to eat?"
I replied, "Sure. You know, Christian allegory really brings out your eyes."
So, as I held Thursday and Mere Christianity in my hands, I thought for a split second about leaving them behind. But that would be lunacy - LUNACY. CS Lewis and GK Chesterton are my wingmen for life!