Word Count

He was mentioned as not being very talkative, but I found him loquacious. I mentioned the disparity to him.

“Well.” He shrugged. “I don’t talk much around my wife and family, or her friends.”

He turned his beer bottle by its neck. “I read a 2014 study about the number of words men and women use in a day. They always used to say that women talk more than men, but this study showed that men and women speak the same amount on average, about sixteen thousand words a day. Most of us filter it out. I talk more at work than at home because they filter more of my words out at home.”

“How do you do that? I mean, how do you figure something like that out?”

“Well, it’s all rough. There are a lot of factors. I set up a spreadsheet to figure out the average. I can show you on my phone.”


“Okay.” He laughed. “No problem. I understand. I’ll give you the executive summary for an average day, quote, unquote.

“I work nine hours a day. Monday through Friday, of course, with holidays off, all that. With commuting, I’m gone about eleven hours a day. I sleep about seven. That’s eighteen hours. So I’m awake and at home about six hours a day.

“Since I’m awake about seventeen hours a day, I decided that I average about nine hundred forty words an hour. I decided to call it a thousand. So I spoke about six thousand words a day at home. I figured that they hear about half of what I say. Three thousand words. They pay attention to about fifteen hundred. So, I’ve reduced what I speak at home to about a thousand words.”

“You speak a thousand words in six hours?”


“But don’t the same rates hold? If you’re saying a thousand words, aren’t they hearing just half of those, and so on?”

“Oh, no.” He grinned. “Now, because I don’t talk much at home, they pay more attention to when I do.”

“That’s all pretty cynical, isn’t it?”

“Cynical? Or honest?” His grin turned rueful and his gaze turned inward. “Truthfully, I think they still pay attention to about half of what I say at home, if I’m honest. I think I’d rather be talking more and ignored, but I see them tune me out when I open my mouth.”

Shrugging, he lifted his beer bottle toward his mouth. “It is what it is.”


4 thoughts on “Word Count

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  1. Now I’m curious on the quality of his work versus home words.

    At work — he’s either working with people to accomplish something, or chatting with people who are stalling going back to work.

    At home — is he working to accomplish something, or complaining? Making someone else do the work ‘right’ while he waits for them to finish? He he telling stories they’ve already heard 1,000 times?

    Liked by 1 person

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