Sunday, August 20, 2006



i love numbers- how else could i have lasted taking 5 years of math intensive mechanical engineering classes? for the love of numbers! through all this, i’ve found that each number holds a special place in my heart. all ten digits and me, we go way back. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. numbers >9 are disregarded as simply one number, they are a combination of the first 10 (in my world).

i may sound ignorant for saying this, but i assumed everyone loved all numbers the same, just as i do. yet recently i was completely appalled during conversation about numbers. the person i was talking to exclaimed that they hate the number four and love the number eight. apparently 4 is bad luck!?

in my eyes four is a pioneer. it’s the first whole number (besides the exception of the glory hogging #1) to have a whole number as a square root. four is the last “quick to recognize*” number.

four and i go way back, i love four. and i love 8. i couldn’t see how she could hate four so much, but she did. her plant had 4 flowers on it, and she cut a perfectly healthy and beautiful flower off simply because she needed the plant to have three or five flowers, but not four.

i asked her why 8 is was a good number (i mean, i know it is. me and 8 have history like you don’t know). she said, “because it’s lucky, the chinese think it’s lucky and i’m chinese. it sounds like the word ‘prosper’ in chinese”. that’s it? that’s why? i was outraged! in english, 9 sounds like ‘mine’ does that make it lucky? 8 sounds like ‘great’ =luck? seven sounds like heaven –lucky? maybe rhyming doesn’t work in this case… four sounds like the word you yell when you hit a golf ball in someone’s direction. perhaps the originator of that action was chinese?

8 is a superb number don’t get me wrong. 2 cubed, 8 bits in a byte!!!, it’s in fibonacci’s sequence, binary for 8 is 1000, it is the octo- prefix helping name the octopus and the octagon. 8 is even the second magic number in physics. magic! but she didn’t know this, she had no true attachment to 8 besides the fact that chinese people say it’s lucky. prosper, hmph.

just because chinese people say something, doesn’t mean it’s correct. i’ve been to china town. heck i bought a squeegee there for $1.99. the guy said it was a good deal and a good squeegee. it broke during my first use! he was chinese, he said it was good. he was wroooong.

i didn’t dare ask why she disliked the #4, my precious #4, but she told me anyhow. that’s right, “chinese think it’s unlucky”. well i think 4 is super lucky. if i won 4 million dollars i’d take it. if i found a 4 dollar bill, i’d feel blessed. if i had 4 fingers… let me stop there.

in persian culture 7 is a lucky number. i like seven, but not because someone tells me it’s lucky. 7 sins, jackpot 7 on the slot machine, and 7 is such a bit*ch of a number in mathematics that you have to give it respect. seven is one of my children.

sometimes i ponder: am the only normal one, thus making me weird?

*quick to recognize numbers are usually 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. when there are 5 or more of something, it usually takes time to count them or recount because you can’t recognize exactly how many there are in one glance.


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