# counting nickels, counting words

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graywyvern
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Joined: 2 Aug 2010
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Posts: 651
Location: texas

15 Feb 2011, 9:41 am

Part of my job involves counting coins: nickels & dimes two at a time, quarters four at a
time, pennies five. Not just reducing “chaos” (the uncounted) to “order” (one count in an
array of counts), for each integer is the name of a sum & bears its own identity.

Integers are as distinct as colors, as words. (3334 no more resembles 3324 than “cult”
does “c**t”.) Making a count is the birth of another instantiation of some integer.
It connects in a family way with all the other sums of counted things in the world,
regardless of what they happen to be (jellybeans? nuclear warheads?). That number has
oddness or evenness, which in numbers is like their gender. And sometimes it’s prime,
which is the chief specialness of counted things.

I like counting nickels best—they are just the right weight & thickness, & a better metal
than quarters IMHO. A prime sum of nickels is better than a birthday.

Thus I like to count syllables in writing a poem. Almost always it’s an odd number,
most often seven, to a line. I oscillate between same-length lines & lines that go longer
& shorter. These correspond to kinds of moods. When I really want more number in
my poetry, I resort to “rhime”: that is to say, by adding up the letters of a word (A=1,
B=2…Z=26), so that any two words with the same sum are pairable, exactly like a sound-
rhyme. I find that with enough practice I remember some of the words that go together; &
this for me forms a completely new matrix of order within the existing system of English
words.

I will never count all the words, so that matrix has mystery.

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ruveyn
Veteran

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 84
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,502
Location: New Jersey

15 Feb 2011, 10:31 am

graywyvern wrote:
Part of my job involves counting coins: nickels & dimes two at a time, quarters four at a
time, pennies five. Not just reducing “chaos” (the uncounted) to “order” (one count in an
array of counts), for each integer is the name of a sum & bears its own identity.

Integers are as distinct as colors, as words. (3334 no more resembles 3324 than “cult”
does “c**t”.) Making a count is the birth of another instantiation of some integer.
It connects in a family way with all the other sums of counted things in the world,
regardless of what they happen to be (jellybeans? nuclear warheads?). That number has
oddness or evenness, which in numbers is like their gender. And sometimes it’s prime,
which is the chief specialness of counted things.

I like counting nickels best—they are just the right weight & thickness, & a better metal
than quarters IMHO. A prime sum of nickels is better than a birthday.

Thus I like to count syllables in writing a poem. Almost always it’s an odd number,
most often seven, to a line. I oscillate between same-length lines & lines that go longer
& shorter. These correspond to kinds of moods. When I really want more number in
my poetry, I resort to “rhime”: that is to say, by adding up the letters of a word (A=1,
B=2…Z=26), so that any two words with the same sum are pairable, exactly like a sound-
rhyme. I find that with enough practice I remember some of the words that go together; &
this for me forms a completely new matrix of order within the existing system of English
words.

I will never count all the words, so that matrix has mystery.

You remind me of the Sesame Street character --- The Count.

ruveyn

Titangeek
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Joined: 22 Aug 2010
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,696
Location: somewhere in the vicinity of betelgeuse

16 Feb 2011, 1:36 am

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