First Letter Frequency and You

You are lying in bed.  From your laptop, you scroll down your website slowly, the large brown letters beginning each post drifting to the top.  Seeing a pattern emerge, you fall asleep. You awake the next morning with an idea.  Grabbing the nearest piece of paper on hand you scroll down the website tallying the first letter of each of the 115 posts.  You feel the need to Excel this data.  You are a professional after all:   (Your tally totals 116 posts but you shrug your shoulders and say, “Close enough.”)  But wait!  Suddenly what has been in the back of your mind this whole time dawns on you.  Not all letters have an equal percentage of being used as the first letter of the word!  A letter could be used frequently just because it appears often at the beginning of words.  A quick search on Google reveals a Wikipedia article on first letter frequency.  You remember the reserve model you use at work, how it modifies incurred claims to remove the variation caused by workday fluctuations, and after consulting with your very smart team lead Sean, you divide the actual frequencies by the weight of each letter and multiply by the average of the weights to remove the inherent first letter frequency of the English language:   (Looks quite similar but again you shrug your shoulders).  Just as you suspected!  Too many I’s.  You talk about yourself way too much.  You are self absorbed and the evidence is overwhelming.  What have you done!  Is there any possible way you could stop talking about yourself so much?  You begin to wonder about other modes of narration ….


  • Anonymous

    March 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm Reply

    LOL! Indeed every profession has its own hazard. People would plead, “No one ought to talk like that.” Well, one can stop talking altogether. Much harder to refrain from expressing natural thinking.

    One variation may be considered. A personal blog is like a diary. It centers on oneself by default. If this blog is a biography about others, letter “I” would likely appear much less frequently. But imagine even if this disposition is normalized, human beings are self-centered by nature.

  • Anonymous

    March 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm Reply

    Knew one person who referred to himself 3rd person. Instead of “I had to do this and that”, he’d say, “XXXX (his name) had to….” During one meeting, while he was babbling on, a bewildered client whispered to the project manager, “Who is XXXX?”

  • Anonymous

    March 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm Reply

    How can we bend both ends of that letter forward? Having a C-hrist centered life is much more wonderful than I-centered one.

  • theo

    March 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm Reply

    You agree. You think that writing a journal without using “I” is almost unavoidable. However you’re starting to realize that “I” doesn’t necessarily mean self centeredness. À la Piper:

    Ding-dong. “Happy anniversary, Noël.”

    “Oh, Johnny, they are beautiful! Why did you?”

    “I couldn’t help myself. Nothing makes me happier than to buy roses for you. And by the way, I’ve got a babysitter. Why don’t you go change clothes because we are going out tonight. There is nothing I’d rather do than spend the evening with you.”

    Not in a million years would she ever say, “Nothing you’d rather do! Why don’t you think about me sometime?”

    You also are starting to think that self referencing yourself in the 3rd person doesn’t do a very good job of making you seem less self absorbed.

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