What’s your favorite number?


In the middle of class today (History of Math, full of Junior math majors) one of my students asked out of the blue “What’s your favorite number?” I said it was 4, because back when I was in elementary school there was a joke that went around where Person A would ask Person B for their favorite color, favorite animal, and favorite number. After Person B replied, Person A would come back with something like, “You’re going to marry a purple dog with 7 legs. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!” The idea of a blue cat with anything other than 4 legs really bothered me, so my favorite number immediately became 4. The fact that I was going to marry a blue cat apparently didn’t cause any angst at all.

This quickly evolved into me asking my class their favorite numbers. And not only did every single person have one, but they all had clearly thought about this. One person also liked 4, but explained it was the ONLY even number she liked. Other than 4, she really hated even numbers. Just hated them. One person liked 24 because it was her birthday. Two people liked numbers (1 and 30) because they was their jersey numbers. One person had two favorites: 6 and 27. One person liked 144 because (1+4+4)×(1×4×4)=144. [This only works for 0, 1, 135, and 144. Isn’t that cool?] And 19 was the favorite number of not one, but two people. For some reason that struck me as a dark and sophisticated favorite number to have. It’s so….prime.

Now I’m feeling all jealous of everyone else’s favorite numbers and thinking I should let go of the whole elementary school thing. I’ve noticed that I’ve used 87 three times in the last two days as a synonym for “a lot” [as in, “You can reach me by email because I check 87 times a day”] so maybe 87 is my subconscious favorite number.

What’s yours? Why?

(The Onion had this question in a survey back in 1996. I was living in Madison at the time and saved it, but can’t find it now — it’s somewhere in the Archaeological Dig that is my desk. But you can see it the results online here.)


11 Responses to “What’s your favorite number?”

  1. TwoPi Says:

    My favorite number is 8, and it has been at least since I was five years old.

    I have vivid memories of being five yrs old, and singing (to myself, in my head) the “inchworm song”… and being intrigued by repeated doubling. So it may well be that 8 became a favorite number because it is the first somewhat exotic number that is a power of two.

    I’m sure my older brother would suggest a more mundane explanation: 8 was the number worn by Chris Cannizzaro, probably my first sports idol. Casey Stengel has been famously quoted as having said about him: “He’s a remarkable catcher, that Canzoneri. (sic) He’s the only defensive catcher in baseball who can’t catch.”

  2. Infinity Says:

    My favorite number is also 19. I didn’t have a favorite number until I was probably 21, though.

    Mine was for a reason similar to the repetition thing… I was watching Deal or No Deal and whenever a contestant was asked to choose a case, I always yelled “19!! Pick 19!!!!!!!”

    So, once I realized (and caught some heat for) the fact that I was a math major who didn’t have a favorite number, I realized that it was probably 19.

    It has shown itself in other interesting situations since, so…. it must be true!

  3. Batman Says:

    My favorite number has been 6 for as long as I can remember. I used to say 13, just to get a reaction, but in my heart it was always 6.

    I even wrote an essay on the number 6 when I was about 10 years old – my birthday (6/6/… and another 6 in the year), the number of twins in my (extended) family, and some other tenuous connections I can’t remember. It’s also twice 3, and everyone knows that 3 is the magic number, so 6 must be doubly magical.

  4. The Doctor Says:

    153 bedcause everywhere i go they seem to follow me and it is the code the futuristic zone doors in the crystal maze

  5. jo Says:

    69696969699696 69

  6. Scraw Says:

    My favorite number is 36. It’s been my favorite number for a long time, along with 12, 3, and 9.

  7. Tayfun Says:

    My favorite number is also number 4 ^^ I was born on april thats the 4th month in 199…4! Yay! But its not only the date i was born.. It also became a part of my life.. I always was 4th in line. And uhh… Things around me were with that number too..Like If i were watching television or some anime The number 4 came lol. The number 4 is also a holy number and has a lot of meanings. And it looks like a awesome blade ^^ Great number haha!

  8. Diva4Jesus Says:

    I have always liked numbers ending in 2, 3 and 6. I especially like 23 (my birthday is May 23), as well as 32 and 846. A few numbers that I like other than 2’s, 3’s and 6’s, are numbers ending in 10 (this is 2010, so I’m in good form), 20, 30, and 60. I also like 645 and 648 (6:45 and 6:48 am and pm on the clock). How about my least favorite number? How about that silly, heavy vehicle-traffic beltway (highway) in Atlanta, the infamous Interstate 285. I call 285 “Godzilla’s identical twin brother”, especially when I’m stuck in traffic on it!

  9. Hannah Says:

    my favorite number is 9! 🙂 yes i like it very much. and 11 bcos i’m born june 11. but i dnt like 6 because if 666. it’s satanic. ‘;)

  10. Kieran Griffith Says:

    I have two favorite numbers because they suit my personality, First is 42 because its just plain funny, second is Infinity because it is fun to think about.

  11. Lightbulb-Ed Says:

    119 is my Favorite, I guess it just stuck with me after a while. Also, very dark thing that 11/9 can be September 11th or November 9th. The emergency number for an ambulance is also 119 flipped, even if it isn’t Prime.

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