What Number Do You Hate?

November 19, 2018 at 8:19 am Leave a comment

In 2014, Alex Bellos conducted a poll to find out people’s favorite number. Based on those results, Maddy Fry wrote an article for Time in which she stated,

The least favorite number turned out to be 110, which was the lowest number to receive no votes.

110 Balloons

That’s not quite true. It would be correct to say that 110 was the least common favorite number, but calling it the “least favorite number” makes it sound like it’s the number that folks like least. In a poll where folks were asked to choose just one favorite number, a number that gets no votes doesn’t make it the least liked number. It just means that no one picked it as their favorite. That’s a subtle but important distinction.

It could be the case — however unlikely — that even though no one picked 110 as their favorite number, it could be everyone’s second-favorite number.

On the other hand, I do have a least favorite number.

More than two decades ago, I heard a local Maryland band called Dead City Radio (not to be confused with the song Dead City Radio by Rob Zombie), and I bought their debut album. Although the band is now defunct, the image from that album cover holds a permanent spot in my psyche:

Dead City Radio

The cover includes disturbing imagery of a doll, a gun, graffiti, an atomic bomb explosion, and the number 219 on the door. Why 219? I spoke with DCR’s lead singer after the show, and he told me that it was serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer‘s apartment number. Disturbing.

Jeffrey DahmerAs it turns out, that’s not true. Dahmer’s apartment number in Milwaukee was actually 213, though he did meet several of his victims at Club 219. I’m not sure if the DCR guys had it wrong, or if I misheard because my ears were still ringing after the concert, or if there’s some other explanation.

Regardless, I had no reason to question the statement when I first heard it, and I now have a fear and abnormal hatred of the number 219. It’s been my least favorite number for years. I obviously avoid room 219 when I stay at hotels. (And now that I know the truth, I avoid room 213, too. In fact, I try to avoid the second floor entirely. I don’t even want to walk past those rooms.)

But my hatred is deeper than just avoiding hotel rooms. When I score 219 points playing Dots, or when I receive $2.19 in change at the grocery store, or when my GPS tells me to turn right onto Route 219, a slight shiver runs down my spine.

I’m not the only person who despises a particular number. At The Top Tens, many people say they hate many numbers for a variety of reasons:

  • 6 looks weird.
  • 16 is so obnoxious. I can’t stand this stupid swagger of an integer. It should burn in hell.
  • 12 will lead to endless controversies.
  • 18 sucks because it’s when you have to say goodbye to your childhood.
  • 39 is a multiple of 13… plus it’s so annoying.

So, what number do you hate? Complete the poll below. (And if it isn’t working for you, jump over to this Google poll.) Once I get a reasonable number of responses, I’ll clean the data and share the results. Check back in early 2019.


 

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About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

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Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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