Young Irving grew up a devout believer in the biblical prophecies of his parents’ faith, and owing to a natural bent in mathematics, was particularly intrigued by the numerical aspects of those prophecies. At the age of seven he surprised his father by pointing out that there was
3 persons in the Trinity,
5 books of Moses,
6 days of creation, and
7 gifts of the Holy Spirit.
“What about 8?” his father asked.
“Well, 8 is the holiest of them all!” the boy replied. “The other numbers with holes are 0, 6, and 9, and sometimes 4, but 8 has two holes, and therefore is the holiest.”
This joke is told by Martin Gardner. Legend has it that it refers to Irving Joshua Bush, later known as Dr. Matrix.