William Burroughs and 23

William Burroughs (1914 – 97) was a colourful member of the Beat generation, best known for Naked Lunch (1959), notable for heroic consumption of drugs and cigarettes, and a preoccupation with the number 23, believing it to play an unusually significant role in human affairs. Readers may judge for themselves.

There are 23 letters in the Latin alphabet.

The European Union has 23 languages.

23! is 23 digits long. (! means factorial. So 23! = 1 x 2 x 3 … x 23.)

If there are 23 people in a room, the probability that at least two of them have the same birthday is 50:50.

A man and a woman each contribute 23 chromosomes to start a new life.

Michael Jordan wore 23 when playing professional baseball.

It is said that David Beckham was influenced by Jordan when he changed his squad number to 23.

In Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, when Sydney Carton goes to the guillotine, the knitting women count him as victim 23.

Shakespeare died on 23 April. The first folio came out in 1623 – the year of Anne Hathaway’s death.

The average smoker gets through 23 cigarettes a day.

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