Here’s the deal. The blogosphere is awash with top ten lists. I’ve recently joined in with my form-fitting series, Makya McBee Vs. Other People’s Lists. And while I consider my own lists to be somewhat unique, I realize that all of these lists have something distressing in common – they all count down from 10 to 1.
I find it alarming that we’re all just willing to blindly accept the notion that the number 9 is better than 10, 8 better than 9, and so on. Why is number one always #1?
I think that an empirical ranking of the numbers one through ten themselves is well past due. It’s just a little too convenient that the best numbers have the lowest value. Let’s put an end to the myth right now.
The Top Ten Numbers, One Through Ten
11. 11 (Don’t think about this for too long, it might hurt your brain. The thing is, all of my top ten lists include eleven items. I actually like the number eleven more than some of the numbers below, it’s just that the number eleven can’t, technically, even be on this list, as it is not a part of the subset being ranked. But I had to fill out the eleventh spot. And the only appropriate number to put here seemed to be eleven itself)
10. 6 (I’m sorry, but six is a pretty useless number. Really, how much would the world change if we started counting – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7…would anybody really miss six? Most of these low numbers have a personality. They’re associated with something. Six doesn’t make me think of anything)
9. 8 (Eight’s not much better than six. Granted, it’s a little more fun to write. But, enough already…eight, it’s enough)
8. 10 (I believe that ten is the most overrated number. Oh, ten thinks it’s so special because we use a base ten system. And this probably developed, historically, because we just happen to have ten digits on our hands to aid in our counting. If, for example, humans had developed – as most animated characters have – with three fingers and a thumb, we’d be using a base eight system and filling our blogs with Top Eight Lists. So just chill, ten, Olympic scoring aside, you’re not perfect)
7. 4 (If four were so great, calling someone four eyes would be a compliment. Using a four letter word would be celebrated. And the Fantastic Four would be, let’s be honest, a little less silly and a little more fantastic)
6. 5 (We’re getting into the middle here, so five has some good and bad traits. On one hand – pun intended – five is the little brother of ten, thinking it’s so cool with its five-digit high fives. On the other hand, we work from nine to five. And when we want a break, we take five. So it’s sort of the number of leisure. And, in that regard, I’m all for five)
5. 7 (While seven is definitely overrated, it has some stuff going for it. I’m a little frustrated by how many people randomly choose this as their lucky number – it’s superstitious peer pressure at its worst. But there’s a reason seven lands in the middle – its combination of positive and negative traits is particularly vexing. For every upside, like the seven wonders of the world, there’s a downside, like the seven deadly sins. Sure, there are seven brides for seven brothers. But just wait until they all get the seven year itch…)
4. 9 (Nine is pretty cool. It’s clearly the funkiest of the top ten numbers. It has nifty, little math tricks and is literally – just flip it – the opposite of six. Whether you’re on cloud nine, dressed to the nines, or going the whole nine yards, this is the most underrated number)
3. 1 (One is the trickiest number. When it comes down to it, we all do have to look out for number one. Then again, as Three Dog Night famously sang, one is the loneliest number)
2. 2 (It takes two to tango. It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to correctly operate a see saw. If you want my two cents, two is the only correctly ranked of the top ten numbers)
1. 3 (Three is the #1 number…or should I say, three is the #3 number…yeah, this could get confusing. Look, the world is just full of good things conveniently packaged in threes. A three ring circus. The triple crown. The three wishes a genie grants you. Plus, three creates an irresistible rhythm for storytelling. Just ask the three little pigs, the blind mice, or Goldilock’s bears. And so many jokes have the following set up – there’s this, and this and that…only, ideally, one would substitute the that with a punch line. Any way you look at it, three is the rhythm of language and thus the best of the top ten numbers. So that’s it. Three wins. And if you’re still a fan of number one, think about it, there’s a reason they didn’t call themselves One Dog Night)