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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Weight of Words - All 123,205,750 of them

The Weight of Words  dee

When I took physics in high school, I was enthralled with the equation that allowed me to calculate the weight of water per square inch.  It was dizzying to discover that there was a quantifiable method of determining the force that water exerts upon a body at rest.  I was given to rumination even forty years ago.  I reflected that if water exerts a calculable weight, then how would one calculate the weight of words?  
I carry words with me.  There are Sunday morning words full of of gentle kindness.  There are words that are as destructive as a tsunami.  Some words can transport one through space and time and across all imagination, while others are unduly harsh, destructive and damning.  After a particularly nasty playground threat in second grade, my aunt taught me the rhyme that 
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”  While I leaned on that for years, I discovered that nothing about that statement is true.  My bones break without sticks or stones ever coming into the picture.  And words, they can hurt.  Of the 123,205, 750 we speak over the course of a lifetime, how surprising is it that many of the words are not kind?  In fact, they are hurtful.  There are words that have been spoken that leave imprints upon my heart, others upon my skin, and still others upon my soul.  Words have power, mass and endurance. I want to remember the power of words to create, attract and change realities next time I open my mouth or lift my fingers and begin to write.  Words have an inherent weight of their own that should not, must not be forgotten.  
Nick Watts told the Daily Telegraph that he spent two years compiling hundreds of statistics with his team. They discovered that during the 2,475,576,000 seconds of the average length life, we speak 123,205,750 words, have sex 4,239 times, shed 121 pints of tears and pay £286,311 in taxes.
They also confirmed what many have long suspected - women on average speak twice as many words as men.

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