My Prime Exaggeration Number · 5 January 2019

Seventeen times. If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you seventeen times.

Seventeen is my favorite exaggeration number. Not a thousand or a million or even a quadrillion. Just seventeen. I am not sure why either. It is odd, but 17 is my prime exaggeration number. (Puns intended, but maybe not so well received. After all, not everybody likes math jokes.)

I am not sure how it all started, but I have been using seventeen (or other fairly small numbers) as my exaggeration number. Maybe it is the way seventeen rolls off the tongue. Sev-en-teen. (It seems savory somehow.) I do not really know. But it does not really matter. I just like to use it as my exaggeration number. (At least at the time of this writing. It could change seventeen times by tomorrow.)

I suppose part of the reason is that seventeen is much better than a million. Or a billion. After all, it makes much more sense. I mean really, if my mom scolded me a million times about one thing, she would probably still be scolding me. It would literally take a person a lifetime to scold somebody a million (let alone a billion) times about something. Let alone keep track of such scolding. Besides, when people exaggerate that much, you know they are just exaggerating. And so the exaggeration loses its effect.

Unless of course, somebody says “a million billion quadrillion.” Then, you know they are being literal and not exaggerating at all. (Where is that sarcastic font?)


I am not much into exaggeration anyway (ignore that person calling me a liar), but when I do exaggerate, I like to use numbers that are plausible. Seventeen times seems plausible. For scolding. For giving directions. For doing anything over and over and over again. (I would have repeated “and over” seventeen times, but that seems a bit overkill.) So I use it. Seventeen.

I am not sure what any of this has to do with life, except that people who exaggerate all the time ought to quit using the -illion numbers. They are blasé and no fun. Besides, they are not odd, nor are they prime.

So when you exaggerate, think about using a simpler number. One people can actually fathom. Like seven or thirteen or even seventeen. Just be sure to use it often enough that people know it is your prime exaggeration number.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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