Some years ago when the internet was young I stumbled across one of those intriguing quirky amateur pages that used to provide the interwebs with its charm. This one explained that the number 47 had a special meaning in Star Trek lore — it shows up all the time — and that this could be traced back to Pomona College. Apparently one of the writers attended Pomona and a professor there managed to turn the number 47 into a school-wide inside joke. That page no longer exists but if you search for 47 and either Star Trek or Pomona you ‘ll find the story on other sites.
I’m only a so-so Star Trek fan, and I have no connection to Pomona. But ever since then 47 is my number for whenever I need a randomly large number for a story:
- I went to buy ice cream and they had about 47 types of vanilla except for basic vanilla so I didn’t get any.
If I need a truly enormous number I’ll use 47 thousand, 47 billion, or 47 kajillion as appropriate. But sometimes 47 is too big, and then I use 17 instead:
- Man we’ve had some great weather lately. It’s been 68° and sunny for about 17 straight days.