The Best Number is 17 and Why

The best number is 17. The majority of you are probably thinking, “Yeah, duh!” For you outliers that disagree, I’m here to show you what’s up.

The (Birth)day Argument

Today, 7/17, is my birthday (cue cheers and applause). This year, the date is 7/17/17, or 17/7/17 if you live in one of those countries. What a pleasing thing to look at! And of course, pleasing because we can all happily celebrate Pam’s birthday.

But I’m not the only important thing that’s happened on a 17th. Have you heard of a little thing called St. Patrick’s Day? Yup, that’s on March 17th. Billie Joe Armstrong, frontman extraordinaire of Green Day and my childhood (and current, tbh) idol, celebrates a birthday on February 17th. And we all know that the 17th is the day of every month where one goes, “Is this month seriously almost over even though it just began like a second ago?” My friend’s mom also has the same birthday as me, so there you go.

The Numerical Appeal

Have you ever heard of a happy prime number? Check it out: if you can add the squares of all the digits in a positive integer and keep repeating this process until you get 1, your starting number is “happy.” If it doesn’t get to 1, following this process will have you repeating some loop of numbers but never reaching 1 which is clearly the definition of sad. Additionally, a happy prime is a number that is “happy” while being a prime number as well. And prime numbers are clearly super rad.

You’re probably thinking, “Wow, 17 is a happy prime? That IS cool.” But wait! While 17 is prime, it is not particularly happy on its own (boohoo!). The number 7 is, however, a happy prime (woohoo!). And here is where I’m going to blow your mind: 17 is a happy prime in base 7.

Yep.

17 in base 7 is 23, which is one of the relatively few happy primes that exist on happy planet Earth.

And let me blow your mind one last time with a fact I just now realized this very second (proving my case further).

This 7/17/17 is my 23rd birthday. Remember how I was saying 17 in base 7 is 23? Just a few sentences ago? Yes, this is real life, yes, this is the number 17 at work.

I literally know exactly what is happening in your mind right now. “Wow, Pam,” your consciousness says, “That is such an amazing, non-arbitrary, solid proof of the importance of the number 17.” Right? If I didn’t just convince you that numerology is real, you must not be reading the same blog post I’m writing!

The Third Support Paragraph

I don’t really have another argument, except for the fact that I know I’ve already convinced you. But I was told by my middle school literature and composition teacher that a chair needs at least three legs to sit on, and I guess that means a third support for my proof is necessary. Unless she was just trying to get me to stop removing legs from all the chairs in the classroom.

Anyways, here’s one more argument. Would you believe that I used to think e (2.718…) was the best number? I know, it’s barely even a number! I was swayed by its natural appeal and romantic irrationality. But although e is perhaps the most important number to mathematicians, nothing holds up to the test of time like the number 17.

Share your experiences with the number 17 below and why it’s important to you, or how it feels to now know the truth about the best number. All those with arguments about \pi, please peddle your pedestrian views elsewhere. And feel free to wish me a happy birthday.

3 Replies to “The Best Number is 17 and Why”

  1. I don’t know man… I get that 23 is a happy prime in base 10. But if you’re going to convert to base 7, I feel like you gotta keep going in base 7. And 23 is not happy in base 7. There are some other really good arguments here, so its not like this changes the whole message, but still. Happy Birthday.

    1. True, but then my age in base 7 is not 23 but rather 32, so I’ll stick to switching between the bases as needed for the purposes of the argument. I’m pretty sure that’s allowed in real mathematics too – if your arithmetic doesn’t work, just try changing up the bases for a second!

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