The Magnificent Seven

Bumbastories continues its walk through the numbers.  Let’s deal today with the seven. Lucky Seven.


Mathematically, the seven doesn’t seem very promising After all, a regular heptagon or septagon is hard to draw, doesn’t tesselate, and doesn’t appear to be particularly useful. Nonetheless the seven is significant to our psyches. It pops up incessantly in our language. To wit:

Seven Seas, Seven Samurai, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Seven Fates, Seven Furies, The Dance of the Seven Veils (OK, we’ll drop it there). The 7-Eleven Convenience Store comes to mind (and I wish it  wouldn’t). And then the  7-Up logo. I always liked 7-Up, although ginger ale is better. And then those sevens on a slot machine – 777 – a sight, I must add on a sorry note, that I’ve seen on rare occasions only.

The seven is holy in the Jewish tradition as well as in other traditions, as it combines the wordly 4 with the divine 3.  The seven is also 6 (the perfect number) plus one (unity). The Shabbat, of course, comes on the seventh day.

Rolling the dice, the seven comes up 1/6 of the time. You can either bet on the seven or “crap out”.

There are seven days in a week. Seven years in a Shabbaton or Sabbatical. After seven years professors, lucky stiffs, get a year off, a Shabbaton. Even the farmers’ fields must lie fallow and replenish themselves every seven years. (Hey, maybe that’s where all those professors hang out. I heard some of them are outstanding men in their field).

Movie titles seem obsessed with the number seven.

There’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as mentioned. There’s The Seven Year Itch (one of my all-time favorites!), There’s Seven Days in May (Burt Lancaster’s in that one), as well as a movie called Seven (a dud as I remember it). There’s Seven Years in Tibet, The Seventh Seal,  Seven Pounds, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Seven Samurai, and there’s even one called Seven Psychopaths, which is probably not a musical. Did I mention Seven Brides for Seven Brothers?

And did I mention the Seven Deadly Sins? I didn’t? OK, I’ll enumerate. There’s Lust, Sloth, Avarice, Pride, Gluttony, Wrath, and Envy. Enough to keep a guy busy seven days a week! It was the clerics of the Dark Ages who came up with this elegant seven-fold conception of morality. You can only imagine how some of those guys were spending their week. Anyhow, when it comes to sins, why only seven? What is it about the number seven?

There were the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. There are seven notes in the scale, Seven Chakras.

Mickey Mantle wore Number 7. Then there’s 007…..Bond, James Bond.

And wasn’t James Bond one lucky son of a gun to be in all those James Bond movies?

Lucky 7, that’s what it is.





16 thoughts on “The Magnificent Seven

  1. It has been proven many times that if you ask a person to choose a number from 1 to 10, he would most likely choose seven.

  2. Now you’ve got me thinking and looking everywhere. What about the 7th son of the 7th son mystical tradition? And 77 beers on the wall? No! That’s different. I’m on the 77th beer on the wall.

  3. That’s right. Stephen is 7. Baum is 4. That’s 7-11. And Marina Kanavaki, that’s a 6 and an 8, which are excellent numbers too. Don’t feel bad. Added together they average to 7. 🙂

  4. I hadn’t realized how many things are ‘7’!!!! Like the 7 Continents, the 7 colors in the rainbow, Seven against Thebes and lest we forget… the 7 Dwarfs!!! Happy seventh day, Stephen!!! 🙂 [hmmm, your name is very close to being a seven!!!!]

  5. I just taped “7 Psychopaths”. It seemed only appropriate that I should wait seven days watching it. Now you have me thinking about 7-11s. Perhaps the store founder was in into the game of craps. “Seven come eleven”

    1. It really is amazing, the depths that these number associations possess. The 7-11 food taking me deep enough. As for the movies don’ t miss Seven Year Itch, then Seven Samurai. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a good one…..

  6. Cheers! By the way, Miller, currently you’re the frontrunner in the race for a free copy of my book – which puts you in direct competition with California Chrome this weekend. for the big trophy.

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