Zipf Stories

Zipf was a linguist who plotted word frequencies and developed a graph that applies to a lot of phenomena.


I wrote a Zipf 10 story (minus Zipf’s top 10 most frequent words), then a Zipf 20 story (minus Zipf's top 20 most frequent words), and now I’ve written a Zipf 30 story (minus Zipf's top 30 most frequent words.)


I think this may be close to the end.


What an odd challenge.


I thought you might appreciate it.

10 Most Frequent Words Prohibited 

  1. a

  2. and

  3. in

  4. is

  5. it 

  6. of

  7. that

  8. the

  9. to

  10. was


There was once some random woman named Sylvia. Sylvia had an obsession: staying free from predictability. Sylvia vowed she would never succumb or crumble when people tried categorizing her within parameters prescribed by any law or graph claiming her behavior was generally or specifically predictable. Sylvia went her merry way, chaotically charming, unfailingly spontaneous. She did exactly what she wanted, nothing else.

Then one day Sylvia encountered an obstacle: her mother had read about Zipf's law. "Sylvia," she said. "Your behavior embarrasses me. Such behavior requires immediate reprimanding. Kindly behave like all circumspect young ladies should behave. If your father were here, your father would start rolling over within his grave. So. Now let's enjoy our dinner."

Sylvia capitulated, completely cowed by her mother's stern words. "Yes, mother," she said. "From now on, your daughter will behave quite differently." Sylvia's behavior altered radically.

There are morals aplenty hidden within this fable, but none shall manifest itself outright. Story writers (particularly this story writer) know how stories best proceed.


Trust me.


20 Most Frequent Words Prohibited

  1. a

  2. and

  3. as

  4. at

  5. be

  6. by

  7. for

  8. he

  9. I

  10. in

  11. is

  12. it

  13. of

  14. on

  15. the

  16. that

  17. to

  18. was

  19. with

  20. you

Stella loved animals. Whenever Stella saw any animal, she felt great happiness. One day, Stella saw an all-white dog who looked extremely beat up. This dog gave Stella's heart strings several strong tugs. Stella stopped. "Bella," she said, thinking she would give this dog its first real name. But Bella paid her no attention. Stella called again. Bella still didn't pay her any attention. Finally, Stella realized something important: Bella couldn't hear. Stella picked up Bella, who licked her lavishly. She carried Bella across town, whereupon she made sure Bella received medical attention. Bella became Stella's dog. They lived happily together until Stella died. Stella's death depressed Bella but she got over her grief. Bella got new owners. Bella's new owners took her walking many times each day. Bella loved her new owners. Bella's new owners loved her. Bella forgot Stella. Bye, bye, Stella. Hello, new owners!

30 Most Frequent Words Prohibited

  1. a

  2. and

  3. are

  4. as

  5. at

  6. be

  7. but

  8. by

  9. for

  10. from

  11. had

  12. have

  13. he

  14. his

  15. I

  16. in

  17. is

  18. it 

  19. not

  20. of

  21. on

  22. she

  23. that

  24. the

  25. this

  26. to

  27. was

  28. which

  29. with

  30. you


Certain couples make history. Doris/Gerry Davison make up one such couple. Doris Davison designs chairs. Gerry Davison stuffs them. Our dynamic duo lives happily without much money because they love their work. Wouldn't things turn out much better should our world reward couples like Doris/Gerry Davison? People may say rewarding such couples, no matter how outstanding, makes no sense. Such statements only reveal most people's insensitivity or stupidity. Let us salute Doris/Gerry Davison! Let us reward them, celebrate them! Let us buy their chairs! Let all Davisons feel proud! Doris/Gerry Davison's story certainly makes me feel better about being human!