MetaNumbers January 3, 2019 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Let's lighten the mood. It's towards the end of the week and I want to hear about something not related to politics. It's 2019 and we just went up another number. This has me thinking about numbers in general. Tell me about a number that is significant to you. Maybe it's a number that always shows up in your life, or it's a number that is lucky, or you just like the number because of the way it looks or sounds. It could even be a fact about a number you learned on this site. Let's dig deep and talk about numbers.
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 6:47 AM (91 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

In my mind, my mother is 37 years old. If someone asks me how old she is, the first number that pops into my head is always 37, even though she's now 68. I think she was probably 37 the first time I, as a child, knew or cared or remembered how old she was.

It made for sort of a weird progression of birthdays for me -- like, turning 30 didn't make me feel old and turning 40 didn't make me feel old, but turning 37 somehow seemed monumental. Like I was now an adult -- the same age as my mother.

Coincidentally, it was right about that time that I decided to quit my job and go to law school.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:55 AM on January 3 [12 favorites]


Not necessarily a certain numbers, but I get in this pattern of seeing a number, and I keep seeing it through the rest of my life. When I was in college I was in a fraternity, and my number in the roster was 371. I've seen 371 in lots of things, like a soda and candy bar at the convenience store was $3.71 . Phone numbers I've had or had to call a lot, I'll see the ending 4 digits in other significant things.

I'm sure it's like the phenomenon when you buy a car and suddenly you see more of your car model / color on the road than you did before, but maybe it's the Matrix playing a little cat and mouse with you.
posted by deezil at 7:01 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


My house number growing up was 3827. When I was a kid and saw Star Wars for the first time, after Luke & the gang are nearly crushed to death by the garbage compactor and are saved at the last minute, Luke gives threepio his location over the comm and shouts out 3827, and it was weird, like there was some mysterious connection between my little world and this other one in a galaxy far, far away.
posted by duffell at 7:07 AM on January 3 [11 favorites]


Also, when I was a kid my older brother liked to give me math lessons that were several grades ahead of mine. He taught me fractions and exponents and geometry and algebra, and all about negative numbers when I was 7 or 8. He teaches astrophysics now and his students love him.

I never had his ease with theory, but I always liked doing math problems--the bits that we use calculators for. They were simultaneously engaging and relaxing little exercises for me. I remember deciding to figure out 88 on my 8th birthday (one long-multiplication problem at a time), and I'll always remember the answer, because it's a tidy and attractive number: 16,777,216.
posted by duffell at 7:13 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


I follow a prime number bot, and reblog palendrome primes, because they're cute as little ducks.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 7:59 AM on January 3 [6 favorites]


14. The number of different ways I can tap all 5 fingers on one hand one time each without tapping any two adjacent fingers consecutively. I figured this out when I was really young, way before I knew any of the math behind it, at maybe six or seven. Sometimes when I'm anxious I tap my fingers through those fourteen patterns, slowly, consecutively. I don't feel compelled to do it or anything, but it's nice.

Somehow I have lived to 35 and never explained this to anyone before.
posted by beandip at 8:04 AM on January 3 [13 favorites]


On my old TV I was very weird about the numbers on the volume control. If at all possible I would set it on one of the following (the precise volume was less important than the number): 7, 9, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 30, 33, 35, 37, 40, 42, 44...
posted by elsietheeel at 8:05 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


5. DOT, Jr. was eight years old before he realized that literally every time I would say, "Pick a number between one and ten," the number I was thinking of was five.

As a side note, our family has recently had to alter this game to be "Pick an integer between one and ten," because DOT, Jr. was irritated we were leaving open the possibility of decimals.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:09 AM on January 3 [11 favorites]


-40. It's the temperature that's the same in both Fahrenheit and Celsius, and I find that oddly endearing.
posted by hanov3r at 8:13 AM on January 3 [11 favorites]


9 is my favorite number. It looks nice, "nine" sounds nice and smooth, it's got the nice symmetrical 3x3 thing going on, it's a good number.

My bff's birthday is 4/12 and she feels like she sees it often, going back to high school. Even now, anytime she looks at the clock and it's 4:12, or the price of something $4.12 or whatever she says something, so that number has also stuck with me for the past 20 years or so.
posted by Fig at 8:17 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


Fig: My bff's birthday is 4/12

I saw that as "4 1/2", and immediately thought "your bff's number is exactly half of your favorite number and that's cool".
posted by hanov3r at 8:30 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Nine is also my favorite number--on top of all of Fig's excellent reasons, it appears in my birthdate five times and I've always felt very centered by it.

I am weirdly sentimental about it being a nine year again.
posted by sciatrix at 8:33 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Ever since reading the Dark Tower I've felt a draw to the number 19 for geek reasons, which culminated in my hitting it FIVE TIMES in one sitting while playing roulette for the first time. I tried to calculate the odds of that happening and they were pretty astronomical.

(My favorite number has always been 16 for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It was my mom's birthday, but still, ever since I was a little, little kid I loved the number 16).
posted by lydhre at 8:43 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


What an interesting question! For me, the number is 4. It repeats in my life often.

My family is 4.
I was 4 when I came to the US.
The refugee camp we stayed in housed 4500 refugees. at its peak, it housed 40,000.
My husband had two heart surgeries at the age of 40.
It's my younger son's favorite number.
posted by alathia at 8:48 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


My favorite number is 13. I was born on the 13th, at 7:13 in the morning. Family lore has it I weighed 7 lb. 14 oz. but my mom insisted it was 13.
posted by gyusan at 9:03 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


28. My birthday is the 28th and so's my sister's. Whenever I get a jersey for a sports team I'm on I get 28. I always have an affinity for players/drivers who wear 28. Nickel has atomic number 28. I love maths but have never felt anything particular about a number for mathematical reasons, i just like 28.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:03 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


8 + 5 = 13 is my favorite equation
When I am exaggerating, I usually use the number 87. One of my friends says it is my "scary" number.
posted by soelo at 9:08 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


don't mind me i'm just taking notes on everyone's banking PINs
posted by poffin boffin at 9:08 AM on January 3 [22 favorites]


Not specific numbers, but two things number-related for me:

My husband and I first went out on a date the night of a lunar eclipse - we have counted full moons ever since (January will be 235!). If a "big number" is coming up, or if a full moon lands on an "event" (New Year's Eve, a birthday), we try to plan to be somewhere cool for it!

The radio volume in my car HAS to be set to a prime number or it drives me wiggy.
posted by ersatzkat at 9:16 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Whenever I see 127, 255, 32767, or 65535 in the wild I think to myself "Uh oh, that thing is about to overflow." I don't remember any of the larger maximum variable values without doing the math or looking them up so they don't jump out at me as much. When I see the number 15 I think "Oh, F!" for similar reasons.

I use eleventeen for a generic smallish number of things and eleventy for a generic large number far too often and it annoys my family but there's only an eleventeen percent chance I'll stop in the next eleventy years.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:25 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


Nine makes me think of a beloved uncle, when he tried to teach me a trick to learn subtraction. It still makes my brain hurt, something about subtracting by 10 instead of 9 and then adding ones back in. But he tried. :-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:32 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


49
posted by philip-random at 9:32 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I like the number 24, and I'm a fan of 8.

24 stuck on me in elementary school, and I have no idea why I liked it so much. but there's something about how the 2/4 fit together and how even they are that I like.

8 looks like infinity gone wonky, or a snowman. It's a friendly, ordinary and a round shaped number, and its not nearly as powerful as zero. one must fear the zero and it's powers.
posted by larthegreat at 9:33 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I like symmetrical numbers, and I especially like them if they're also the same right-side up or upside-down, so you could pivot around the middle and they'd look the same. 80808 is a really pretty number. Depending on the font, so is 10801.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:34 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


3 is the number of days in 2019 I have spent in my pajamas because I have a really shitty cold.

3248432932 is the number of Netflix titles I have scrolled past without finding something I want to watch.
posted by bondcliff at 9:36 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


99 was my jersey number for when I played soccer in my youth. I've always enjoyed that number. Just a thing.
posted by Fizz at 9:48 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


No "42" answers (Other than elsietheeel's offhand mention, which I don't think counts)? I always thought there was something fundamentally wrong with the Metaverse...
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:52 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


There are days when I feel like the stupidest person on Metafilter but I don't even let that stop me anymore...

My favorite number is 23 because the first time I played roulette I put money on that number because it was the furthest I could reach from my spot at the crowded table .. and I won! Statistically I've lost far more on good old 23 than I've won during my time at the roulette table but it's always a winner to me.
posted by kimberussell at 10:00 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


n

I suppose it could be the same for any given integer or digit or number, but I like the way n changes with your point of view. It also fascinates me by being a reference to or representation of beyondness, motion, next-ness, sequence, etc. It's my nth favorite. My n+1 is n.
posted by carsonb at 10:07 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


8 + 5 = 13 is also my favorite equation. Ever since I was a kid, it was the spunky underdog fighting against the evils of 6 + 7. Five is also my favorite number because I was born in May.
posted by Ruki at 10:15 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Donald Duck's license plate number is 313. I remember because of a comic book we had as a kid when an ex-con (former number 313) steals his license plates to use for house numbers. They get into a fight and when Donald decks him out with a crowbar behind his back, his shoulders, the crowbar, and ass make a 313-shaped impression on a slab of wet concrete, inadvertently solving the problem by providing the ex-con with an even better 313 to use as a house number.
posted by ckape at 10:22 AM on January 3 [7 favorites]


Prime numbers and odd numbers. For some reason, 37 is currently stuck in my head.
posted by AugustWest at 10:29 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I can't seem to find a recording online, but ever since I saw this post I've had the old country gospel song "144,000" stuck in my head.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:33 AM on January 3


My youngest son was born on 11/11/11.

My oldest on 4/20.

I have kept my ATM pin # the same since I was in high school and my first real bank randomly assigned it to me. It is also the code to my phone, the former house alarm code, my locker combination at the gym and probably some other stuff.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:47 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


There are a number of geological boundaries I'm quite fond of and thus the number which currently represents the age of those boundaries have a lot of significance for me. Like the age of the end of the Cretaceous (in millions): 66.043 (with error) represents in its most simplest terms just one reallllllly bad day and yet *literally* the end of an era. 5.33 is a well loved number as well, as it represents the reconnection of the Mediterranean with the Atlantic and the end of the Messinian salinity crisis. Due to my own work with geologic time I've had input on how old/how to define other geologic age boundaries and those also all mean something. As the science gets better someday those numbers will change but the old numbers will all have meaning in my heart much like the old age of the K/T boundary (65.5) does.

Similarly I adore the general numbers representing Milankovitch cycles (e.g. 23k, 41k, 413k, 100k), which in the most simplest terms are changes in how earth travels through space and how that affects climate and even what day the seasons start, even though they're not precise and vary. In fact, I like that they're not precise. For example, if I say something in a discussion with a colleague like, "I observe episodic sea level changes in a 23,000 year cycle," they'll know I'm talking about a specific variation of the earth's rotation/orbit (precession), yet that doesn't mean exactly 23,000 years every time, and additionally that number can be built on some very precise data and some "there are other influences." For some reason the combination of precision and non-precision in that sense pleases me greatly, maybe because it also means, "there are more things to discover!"

I like 21 because it's a Fibonacci number, because its factors are both primes that add up to 10, that 2+1 equals one of its factors and that all of those are also Fibonacci numbers, it's a triangular number (1+2+3+4+5+6=21), along with a whole bunch of other neat mathematical identities/meanings like it's a harshad number which means "joy-giver" and it does- the number 21 gives me joy. If I were keeping/discarding numbers using the KonMari method I would definitely keep 21.
posted by barchan at 10:56 AM on January 3 [7 favorites]


22
posted by Burhanistan at 11:54 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


My favorite number is right there in my username. When I was eight or so, my best friend asked me what my favorite number was. His was five, because of the five members of his family. He explained this with such solemnity I panicked, because I had never thought to have a favorite number before and here he was having this whole story. "Six!" I blurted out, thinking that hey, that sounds like a fun number. I could learn to love it. And I did! I especially love the way it looks on a die. And now if anyone asks me, I have a story about my favorite number, too.
posted by missmary6 at 12:23 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Now I’m feeling inadequate because I don’t have any favorite or special numbers. Or letters for that matter. Although I strongly dislike the letter P. There are just a lot of words I don’t like that start with P.

Pewter. Ugh. What an awful word.
posted by greermahoney at 12:24 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


For some reason, I always remember that the Enterprise's registry is 1701 (or, more accurately, NCC-1701).
posted by holborne at 12:34 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


I strongly dislike the letter P. There are just a lot of words I don’t like that start with P.

Oops.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:39 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


9 - Mia Hamm's number! And, 9x2=18 - Scott Brosius's number! Also the 9s times tables is the easiest! Also my birthday is January 9!
posted by ChuraChura at 12:41 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Pewter. Ugh. What an awful word.

Yes, dreadfully tinny.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:41 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


My California Drivers License has four 6s in it, three of which are consecutive. When I've had to show my DL for ID, I get one of two responses (1) "you must win a lot at Drivers License Poker (comparing numbers for best poker hand equivalent)" or (2) "eek! it's the drivers license of the Devil (666)!"
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:43 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Yes, dreadfully tinny.

Omg. How did someone film inside my head???
posted by greermahoney at 1:15 PM on January 3


My least favorite multiplication fact has always been 7x8. 56 just doesn't feel quite right as the answer. When I was helping my kids learn multiplication facts, I thought of a mnemonic that I wish I'd thought of 40 years earlier. If you say it like 56=7x8, then you've got 5,6,7,8 all in order. Neither of my kids thinks 7x8 is the hardest fact to remember. I think they both hate 6x7, which never gave me any trouble.
posted by Redstart at 1:18 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Whenever someone says, "Hey, I have a question for you..." I say "The answer is six" and walk away. I've been doing this for about three decades. I have never been right, but someday I'm gonna look like a genius (and people learn not to say "Hey, I have a question for you..." to me, so it's win-win).
posted by Etrigan at 1:30 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Oh I forgot my user number! It's 51234. I find that extremely pleasing and shouted with glee the first time I saw it.
posted by barchan at 1:38 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


My ICQ number was 19234967, which isn't quite low enough to be a prestigious early adopter, but had a nice enough ring to it that I will remember it forever.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 2:24 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I actually didn’t see barchan’s comment above so the sequentiality was serendipitous. But 22 really is a standout number for me. Birthday, unit # of my first apartment on my own, many others. Confirmation bias and/or unknown unifying integer forces more subtle than gravity? Eh.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:50 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Hmm. My husband's birthday is 11/11 and mine is also 11/11. He is 11 years older than I am.

It gets us both free burgers at Ruby Tuesday (should we so choose, I think we did it once?), and lots of remarks at things like the bank, when we recently opened a new joint checking account, so he could tell that story to the bank teller, and some people seem to harken unto the 11:11 phenomena but it's a day I was born, and sometimes I got it off from school, before I realized the historical significance.

My favorite was when I was hosting some Polish guys in the US for work, showing them around town, and it came up somehow, and they said, "Oh! Polish Independence Day!" and then when they left to go back home, they bought me a giant coffee table book of scenes of Poland (which was gorgeous, btw) and told me I was welcome to visit them anytime.

So I think it's cool, as a pattern and some people really get into it, but it also means I am a tiny insignificant dot who was randomly born on a date in history, and that history means so much more than I do.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:06 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


I’ve always liked that my spouse is exactly one year, one month, and one day older than I am.

jacquilynne’s comment made me smile, as it reminded me of a recent conversation with my 70-year-old mother in which she confessed that her “mental age” has been 42 ever since she was that age. At 45? She felt 42. 60? 42. Now? 42. I’ve never thought about it that way... I always “feel” the age I am.
posted by cheapskatebay at 3:18 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I don't really have special numbers (note to poffin: all my PINs are number-alpha coded to meaningful words) but I would like to share a story from high school about a kid who cared way too much about his. Because even 15 years later every time something of him pops up on my facebook I remember this and think he's a twat all over again.

First off, I went to a REALLY small school--my graduating class only had 34 kids. We had custom senior jerseys made (if you were a senior you could wear jeans if you wore your jersey so it was a bfd) with a nickname and number of our choosing on the back, very XFL. You could choose any school-approved name and any not 69 or 420 number. Even in the small class there were a few duplicates, but the only one that caused a problem was the number 5.

This one guy, Davy (this is his real name as he should be shamed), played every sport and was always the number 5. His dad was really active in the booster club and assist-coached a lot of teams, so it was always super easy to snag the 5 jersey. Davy was also really popular which helped. Naturally he chose the number 5 for his senior jersey. The problem was that Priya (not her real name, as she is innocent) also chose the number 5. Because it had been her lucky number her whole life.

Davy was not ok with this. He had a small meltdown. Someone else had his number! For a thing that doesn't matter at all! And not just someone else, but Priya who was unpopular and a minority so it was doubleplus bad to even think of sharing it with her! And because Davy was popular, literally half the class ganged up on Priya, like I'm talking full on shouting YOU CAN'T HAVE 5, 5 IS DAVY'S NUMBER, CHANGE YOUR NUMBER!!!! ripping the order form out of her hands, etc etc. It was a mess. I believe at this point I may have suggested to Davy to stop being such a little bitch. But the other kids were throwing things at her, calling her names. It was awful. And Davy was literally near tears saying it's my number I've had it since peewee football. He may have actually cried, but that might just be how I want to remember it. (I think he did cry though, a little.) Finally our homeroom teacher came in and was just like ?????Davy, other people can have the number 5, you don't own the number 5. But by that point the class had gone feral.

To her undying credit, Priya stood her ground and ordered her jersey with the number 5 and wore it all senior year and there wasn't a fucking thing Davy could do about it and it was beautiful.
posted by phunniemee at 3:28 PM on January 3 [15 favorites]


I have always liked the equation 6+7=13. I also prefer odd numbers and odd number of objects visually, supposedly they are more interesting in art material, as evens get repetitive formal, stodgy, kind of like, see, I have this many things! I like 3, such a nice, obviously odd, little number. When I walk it is in threes, one breath in, two breaths out. I live 3/3 and 3/4 time.
posted by Oyéah at 3:40 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Speaking of years and numbers, I was 7 in December 1960, and I remember being just blown away when it turned into 1961, and the year looked exactly the same upside-down as right side up. I probably spent the whole year tuning paper upside down.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:44 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Hmm. My husband's birthday is 11/11 and mine is also 11/11. He is 11 years older than I am.

My new earworm: "Nine six seven, eleven, eleven!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:47 PM on January 3


In the second programming class I took, we had to memorize the powers of 2 up to 20. I still remember that 2^20 is 1048576. I have been programming for 24 years now and this has never been useful information.
posted by Sibrax at 4:57 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


My favorite number is 37. It is prime. 73 is prime. Three and seven are both primes.

I play a weird number game anytime I’m bored but have a calculator, and 37 comes up a LOT in that game.
posted by Night_owl at 5:21 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


2, because it's large enough to be interesting, but not too large.
posted by aws17576 at 7:16 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


We were touring an Octopus Farm recently and at the start of the tour the guide asked my daughter how old she was. She took a deep breath and, very earnestly, piped up in front of the whole group:

‘NINETY-SEVEN!’

(She’s three and that’s her idea of humor and I think it’s perfect.)
posted by The Toad at 8:12 PM on January 3 [7 favorites]


Marie Mon Dieu: You've probably been asked this before, but have you ever heard the Rufus Wainwright song 11:11?

Also my PIN is alpha-numeric and I've been using it since high school.

And since y'all are unlikely to steal my ATM card, the PIN is "bugs".
posted by elsietheeel at 8:21 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


My user number is 265874. If you sorted the digits in numerical order, you would get: 2 4 5 6 7 8. At the time, I was having some serious tunnel vision in which I saw the number 3 in some fashion no matter where I looked, so its absence was strangely validating.

But 3 is a pretty useful number. You can divide things up in thirds; a classic story structure-- in brief-- has three major points. The beginning, the middle, and the end.
posted by redrawturtle at 9:00 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


At the time ... as in, when I registered for an account... /hides face

I posted at 21:00 on the dot and it's divisible by 3, and it's January 3rd... Universe, you are not helping.
posted by redrawturtle at 9:11 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I'm feeling really at home here in this thread
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:31 PM on January 3 [11 favorites]


Oh-- Oh dear.
posted by redrawturtle at 10:03 PM on January 3


Powers of 8 and of 20 have been big for me the last couple years as I've found myself returning again and again to art projects featuring Sierpinski carpets and Menger sponges respectively; the number of individual units in those fractals scales up at 8^n for a carpet and 20^n for a sponge as n grows and the nature of that means numbers get big fast when n increases.

So any time I'm thinking about doing e.g. a painting that incorporates a Sierpinski carpet, I have to decide how many levels deep to go with it, and do the math to see what I'm biting off. And at this point it's not really "do the math" so much as just reference the sequence of 8's that's burned into my mind—8, 64, 512, 4096—though any higher than that and I do actually have to do the math because even 4096 is a galling number of times to do any specific subtask on a painting, no matter how simple.

Menger sponges grow by 20s because a first-level Menger sponge is a cube with seven sub-squares removed, leaving 20 of the 27 total 3x3x3 behind. The next level is 400, which each of those remaining sub-squares converted to a remaindered 20 sub-squares each; next is 8000; next is not happening pretty much no matter what.

Basically sizing up a project involves incrementing n a step at a time until I wince, and then maybe taking a step back. 8, 64, 512 (wince), 4096 (uncle!).
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:12 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


My favourite number is i.

Why? It's complex.
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 12:12 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


I like the number 2, the number 4, and the number 5.

Since I've lived in Australia, I've always lived in prime numbered houses - 2, 37, 11, and now 19. I only realised that when I bought #19, and now I'm wondering if it's a legitimate consideration when looking at any future houses.

When I started university (in Australia) my student number XXXX 4350 had the same numbers as my childhood phone number in another country. (4350 XXX) (the x's are different numbers.)

I always felt happier with being even numbered ages, until I turned 20. Not being a teen anymore was ugh- 21 felt better which I remember thinking was weird, as it was an odd number.
posted by freethefeet at 12:55 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


13 is my favourite number, because the idea that a number could somehow be unlucky (or really the idea that any random word or concept can affect the outcome of your day-to-day life) is pretty funny. It just makes no sense! My parents have a lovely cottage up north that is on the perfect bit of land. There is a house-sized pile of rock rising out of the lake that they built the cottage on so that the deck overhangs the water at the perfect conjunction of sun, view and breeze. The people who have the cottage next to theirs actually wanted that plot of land, but wouldn't buy it because it was lot #13. When I bought my first house, which was a lovely place, I got the paperwork and discovered that though the house # was 29, it sat on lot 13. I'm always amused when I'm in an elevator and see that the building doesn't have a floor 13. 5 and 23 are from The Illumanatus! trilogy, not that I'm a huge fan of those books, but me and a bunch of my friends read them at the same time, and then started working those numbers into our conversations whenever we wanted to be particularly random or silly. Which was a lot. 42 is of course the answer to the great question, and I'm a huge Douglas Adams fan. I don't need to explain 69, right? And 666? I'm an atheist.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:57 AM on January 4 [5 favorites]


11, it's not even funny.
posted by fullerine at 3:51 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


> 14. The number of different ways I can tap all 5 fingers on one hand one time each without tapping any two adjacent fingers consecutively.

NEAT. It took me a minute to work them out, but that's still a surprisingly small number of combinations.
posted by lucidium at 4:49 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


My favourite number is 52, because my guinea pig was given number 52 when I entered him (or rather, as we later learned, her) in a pet show, and won. I was seven.
posted by Morpeth at 5:37 AM on January 4 [5 favorites]


118 has always been mine. Birth date (1/18), house number growing up, exit off the interstate for my place of birth. Since I noticed all that around age 10 of course it seems meaningful every time it pops up, which is no more than one would think.
posted by supercres at 9:10 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Damn, I should have waited an hour and 8 minutes to post that
posted by supercres at 9:12 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Re Enterprise-1701:
When we started going to the gym, my spouse gave me a spare locker lock. I reset it, he said. 1017.

Me, from brainfart territory: For... the Enterprise?

Reader, that is our wedding anniversary
*facepalm*

I glommed onto 8 as a teenager, though I don't know why, really. I don't use it for Things anymore for fear of racist dogwhistles ("88" is a thing ugh) but haven't found a new one yet. Maybe 7. It's got a lesser Prince song from the 90s going for it.
posted by cage and aquarium at 9:49 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


That 'fite was born September 9, 1999, I live in a duplex, both sides are prime num ers. Does it mean we both aren't there?
posted by Oyéah at 10:57 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Speaking of locker combinations, does anyone still remember theirs? It's been 30 years and not only do I remember mine (24-25-15 and 37-15-5) but I am 99% sure I still have both locks somewhere in the garage.

But I can't remember phone numbers anymore. Cell phones have broken my brain, due to saved contacts and area codes being almost meaningless at this point (add another three digits to the seven I already have to remember and... no.)
posted by elsietheeel at 11:08 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


I've lived in the same apartment for twenty years. It's on the third floor, and there are thirty two steps between the entrance lobby and the third floor. From the bottom, it's three steps, turn right, two steps, turn right, eight steps to the second floor. Then three steps, turn right, three steps, turn right, nine steps, turn right, four steps to the third floor.* I've been counting them at least four times a day for those twenty years. The English numbers from one to twenty have thirty two syllables, and going downstairs, it works better to count one two three four five six sev en eight nine ten e lev en twelve thir teen four teen fif teen six teen sev en teen eigh teen nine teen twen ty than the other way, because that way the second floor lies on the break between fourteen and fifteen - otherwise you get stuck in the middle of a word for the entire second floor. Of course, it's the opposite going up.

If I've spent twenty seconds on the stairs four times a day for twenty years, that's 162 hours of stairs - almost a week or a full work-month - which is why I've had so much time to think about how to count them.

* After 20 years, I still haven't actually learned the 3-2-8-3-3-9-4 sequence, at least not explicitly, though if somehow it changed, I would probably stumble four times a day for the next year. I went and counted the stairs for this.
posted by moonmilk at 11:59 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


cage and aquarium: When we started going to the gym, my spouse gave me a spare locker lock. I reset it, he said. 1017.

Me, from brainfart territory: For... the Enterprise?


NCC-1017 is the USS Constellation, lost with all hands under the command of Commodore Matt Decker fighting a planet-eating robot in the star system L-374.

(In real life, the shooting model of the Constellation was an AMT model kit of the Enterprise. It came with NCC-1701 decals, and they cut those up and rearranged them to get the Constellation's registry number)
posted by hanov3r at 1:08 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


Also, hi, I'm hanov3r and I'm a giant over-explainy nerd.
posted by hanov3r at 1:08 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Partially due to the cancer I'm fighting... in 2014 I weighed over 500 lbs. Probably close to 550ish. I never weighed then because I was scared to.

Six months ago at the doc I weighed in ... I'm down about 175 lbs in the past four years.
posted by mrbill at 1:42 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


I am not a numbers person (often, in fact, numbers make me anxious and nervous). But the last 4 digits of my cellphone spell out "MOFO" (intentionally) and that delights me on every single level.
posted by VioletU at 4:07 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


If I've spent twenty seconds on the stairs four times a day for twenty years, that's 162 hours of stairs - almost a week or a full work-month - which is why I've had so much time to think about how to count them.

When my partner and I were first dating, we lived in little houses about a block apart in the same neighborhood. One day, he said to me, "I wonder if the ceilings at your house are higher than mine." I said, "It's twelve steps to the second floor in both houses, so they're the same height."

He said, "How in the world did you know that?"

I said, "How in the world did you not?"

And that's when I found out that not everybody counts steps as they go up and down them.
posted by Orlop at 4:24 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


Throughout my life, xx53 persists, where both x's are the same integer: a post office box, ID number, phone number, locker number, bank account number, street address, and others. I love it when they pop up serendipitously.
posted by carmicha at 8:47 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


My first grown-up back account was at a bank that used 5-digit PIN's. So of course, mine was 24601.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:59 PM on January 4


When I moved to WY during high school I was assigned locker 666. First time I seriously considered adults might actually be conspiring against me.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:01 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I thought people starting considering adults were conspiring against them by preschool?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 AM on January 5


5. I was born on the 25th day of the 5th month of 1955.
posted by Enid Lareg at 2:26 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Whenever someone says, "Hey, I have a question for you..." I say "The answer is six" and walk away. I've been doing this for about three decades. I have never been right, but someday I'm gonna look like a genius (and people learn not to say "Hey, I have a question for you..." to me, so it's win-win).

I did this at work with my number five. One day, I was feeling less than jovial and didn't say it.

The answer, of course, really was five.

I stopped saying it after that because I blew my one chance. I've never really gotten over the disappointment.
posted by Ruki at 3:26 PM on January 6 [5 favorites]


Ruki, that is funny. Years ago, a friend of mine wrote (and I illustrated) a completely absurd role playing game. We came up with a bunch of creative ways to arrive at numbers instead of just rolling the dice. Like, turn on the home shopping network and use the first number that is spoken, or hang your head out the window and ask the first person that walks past. This didn't always work. If you shout at a stranger "how far away is the fish?" they don't generally give you a useful answer, so the rule was that if you don't get a number, the answer is five. The answer is always five.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:12 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


an ex-con (former number 313) steals his license plates to use for house numbers.

Actually, looking up the comic it seems that the license plate was sold to the ex-con by Donald Duck's troublesome neighbor, I apologize for misrepresenting the situation.
posted by ckape at 8:21 PM on January 21


I like even numbers best, and 8 is my favorite number, because look at how even that even number is. 11 is okay, because it's my birthday. It's also a very even looking odd number, nice and symmetrical, just how I like it.

Because my last name was the at the end of the alphabet, I was number 21 in school most of the time, like I always had cubby 21, desk 21, etc. etc. I also consider 6 acceptable, because that's June, which is my birth month.

But 8. Eight holds my number-loving heart.
posted by PearlRose at 7:17 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


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