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The First 20
I’ve decided to power rank all the numbers from 1-20 without a set of coherent criteria. These rankings are objectively correct. Please don’t reply with your pedantic takes—I’ve thought this through thoroughly. If you wish to reply, make it praise, and make it effusive.
1. Look—I’m going to state right up top that the game of ranking numbers is not like ranking anything else. It’s not stupid to like the popular numbers. It’s not dumb to rank them high. A number “not getting talked about enough” isn’t a good reason to rank it high. If a number isn’t talked about enough, that means it isn’t useful and it doesn’t mean anything. You’d have to be an idiot to not make 1 number one. It’s everything to everyone. It’s the most common amount of anything ever. Its mathematical properties alone entrance the mind… it’s its own square, its own square root, the first positive number of all time… Yeah, 1 slaps, and anyone who doesn’t think so is a damn fool.
2. At this point, you may be thinking Oh, I get it. He’s doing an elaborate bit wherein each of the numbers actually are the same as their rank and he has to come up with stupider and stupider justifications for why certain numbers are better than others. Rest assured, dear audience, that is not what I’m doing. I just think that 2 deserves the spot. We have so many common words to denote 2—pair, duo, twice. Our entire concept of even and odd numbers is based off of two. It, like 1, is less of a number, and more of a force of nature, exerting its influence on how we see each of its multiples.
5. The first diversion from the obvious path. I’m not saying that 3’s not great, I’m saying that 5 and all of its multiples occupy such a pleasingly whole place in our collective mind. Note that every word in Wordle is 5 letters. Yeah, I know all you fucks play Wordle like the good little neoliberal market urbanists you are…
3. The early numbers, the 1-10 numbers, are obviously going to get ranked higher than the other numbers in this ranking. They just sit heavy in our minds, imbued with the weight of years of using them casually. 3 is obviously high up—it’s so ubiquitous that it, along with 1 and 2, are used to refer to all integers. Bring back widespread usage of “thrice.”
4. Oh shit. Now we’re getting into the factor game. Up until now, all the numbers have been 1 or tight little primes… but now we see a less conservative, laced up number, who decided not to wait for the 1 to have factors… Also one of the first great square numbers of all time.
7. The sheer cultural weight on this fucking thing alone… One of the most incredible primes of all time, large enough to stand with pride on its end of the 1-10 spectrum, letting its freak flag fly high.
10. A complete paradigm shift. Mind blowing and frankly a game changer. Adding another digit just to stunt on these hoes.
8. I think this is our first cube, and what a lovely cube it is. Also one of the best ages to be—old enough to have a conversation, but young enough to accidentally be funny as shit.
9. This one’s exciting because it’s a square but it’s also odd, blowing out of the damn water what your conceptions of a square even are. Also all of its multiples have a sort of pleasing lopsided affectation about them—27, 54, 63. 81 is a number you could stare at forever, and it’s all because of 9…
6. 6 is probably the worst of the 1-10 numbers because it’s not really the first to do anything. But there is that thing where 1+2+3 = 6, and that bumps it up above the 11-20 crowd.
20. Starting shit off with a bang, but a multiple of 10 can’t ever go wrong in my heart.
12. The last number most Americans learn the times table for, all culminating in a glorious 12x12 = 144. The first number from 1-20 that has two different sets of whole number factors that aren’t just itself and 1. Some absolutely fucked multiples on this thing—the sheer audacity of 12 x 7 being 84 is stunning to behold.
11. The double 1. Two 1s for the price of one number! Not to mention all the deliciously alliterative multiples.
15. A nice, sexy multiple of 5. Nothing wrong with 15. Nice to see 5 return back to its odd number roots after a brief flirtation with being even in the form of 10.
13. Scary, spooky, prime. The first teen.
16. Probably the last “good” number on this list that I have positive feelings about. A very enjoyable square indeed, my good fellows.
18. tfw legal………. 👀👀💦
14. One of the most mid numbers of all time. Mind bogglingly boring and borderline useless. Even if I have 14 things, I’ll just say “around 15” to describe it.
19. 20’s precum. Not for me but I can see why people like it, I guess.
17. Fucking garbage number. Ugly, prime but sort of uninteresting about it, some of the worst multiples of all time (when’s the last time you thought about 34). Prime numbers, if they were people, would be people who buck the mainstream to go their own path, and this is the version of that where you just get into Joe Rogan and the idea of living in Austin. Couldn’t be me. Fuck that noise lol
Note: a friend of mine has made a compelling argument that 17 and 19 should be switched because it’s more interesting to be 17 (the age) due to the Sound of Music than is to be 19. I can see the validity of the argument and want to acknowledge it, but I’ve bullheadedly done it my way anyway.
Hey…I got a degree in MATH and ENGLISH…someone cooked this up just for me 😂😂