the revised devil's dictionary


0 num Zero, also known as naught. Possibly mankind’s most twisted toy, an oddity as numbers go and proof that something doesn’t have to be alive to evolve. Over the years this number has evolved from a simple beginning as a placeholder digit into a super-sophisticated and charismatic number that baffles boring operations like division and defeats powerful operations like multiplication. It holds the world record for most number of assigned special titles, such as the Additive Identity, the Inverse of Infinity, the Undefined and the Big Zit.

1 num Multiplicative identity, which means to the unmathematical that it has the property of no effect when used to multiply. Like voting.

13 num The sum of 11—a dud number and the first prime number 2. In folklore, fiction, and fables, an unhallowed or unlucky number, probably because the thirteenth tribe of Israel never got any good press. Considered to be a lunar number, there being thirteen lunar months to a year.

1984 num Title of the George Orwell science fiction novel. Orwell, while considered by advocates of both the left and right to be a bit hard to take, merely extrapolated current trends in political science to a reasonable conclusion. Interestingly enough, the Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik wrote a monograph titled “Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?” which concluded it was unlikely, thereby proving just how up-beat a guy Amalrik was. In actual fact, he was only off by 5 years.

2 num  1. Contrary to what most believe, the first prime number. 2. The number needed to tango anyplace except Paris, where one super-economy sized ego will do. See Marlon Brando.

4 num The first perfect square number ( 4 = 2*2 = 22 ) and the basis for square dancing, in which 4 people (2 couples) do their damnedest to look like they enjoy listening to someone shouting instructions. This is still a notch and a half above Western Line Dancing, where the object is for a crowd of human beings imitate a herd of confused cows.

4004 BC year The year the earth was created according to Irish and fundamentalist folklore, or, more prosaically, an Intel microprocessor of antiquity. Both have equal significance to the modern world.

666 num From Christian Theology, the area code of the Beast. See Antichrist.

7 num The number of Snow White’s Dwarves: Doc, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Bashful, Dopey, and Sleepy. Dopey died of a heroin overdose in 1966, but was replaced by Grumpy’s cousin, Sleazy.