I went to get a mailbox last week for my self-publishing venture, and the employee let me choose my own number. Math nerd that I am, I stood there for a solid ten minutes looking at the bank of mailboxes and figuring out which number I would prefer.
1729 would’ve been my first four-digit choice, but they didn’t go up that high. The obvious choices like 1024 were taken. I started scrolling through this site, looking at what interesting mathematical qualities each of the open mailbox numbers had.
And then I spotted 1066. Damn. That was the one.
When I told my friends I chose 1066, they immediately said, “Normandy? Why?” After rolling my eyes at having such smarty-pants friends, I explained that it wasn’t the Battle of Hastings per se that I was into, it was the Bayeux Tapestry. Ever since I studied it in art history, something has tickled me about the Bayeux Tapestry — as a piece that has been so remarkably preserved, as a piece of craftsmanship so grand in scope, as a piece of such extensive narrative storytelling — and I just get a kick out of it. I’ve never seen mention of anything else like it in the art world.
And I always associate 1066 with the Bayeux Tapestry. So there was that.
From the “What’s Special About This Number?” list, the following happens to be true about 1066:
Since I’ve done some work with the totient function before, and since it gets a shout out in Zero Sum Game when my main character is hallucinating (yes, she hallucinates math, what else would she hallucinate!), that seemed rather perfect.
The Historical / Mathematical / Personally Significant
There’s this game called 24.
I first learned it with cards. You set out four cards, and you try to use each of them exactly once and end with a result of 24 (with the face cards being worth 11, 12, and 13). So, an ace, a three, a five, and a jack could form (11 – 5)(1 + 3) = 24. If you’re the first person to come up with a working combination, you win that round.
Some people claim the rules say you can only use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I think it’s FAR more fun — and more challenging! — to allow any operation.
Anyway, I’m addicted to this game. I play it solitaire-style with anything that has four numbers. Like license plates when I’m stuck in traffic (CA plates have four numbers and three letters). Or dates. And 1066 is one of my favorite 24 combinations ever:
I liked that solution so much that I put it in a story I wrote when I was in high school. In the story, the character couldn’t remember what happened in the year 1066 — only that it was “something important,” and that the combination of the digits to make 24 was a cool one.
So, there you have it. 1066 became my new mailbox number.
- I know some people claim this, because they’ve tried to disqualify my creative solutions!↵