I was thrilled to find this forum and realize that I'm not the only one that does this.
I've been counting the number of letters in sentences and phrases for as long as I can remember. I don't count spaces or punctuation and will add words to make the total number of letters end in a 4 or an 8. I'm not sure what's so special about 4 and 8 except that they are even numbers and 8 has always been my favorite number.
I agree that it's a fun party trick and people are amazed at how quickly I can tell them the number of letters that were in a sentence. I'm now 56 years old and for me, the party trick has grown old. I wonder what I've missed out on because my brain is constantly counting. I find it difficult to read a book, listen to a lecture, or even watch a movie because my brain won't stop counting. I can literally watch an entire movie and not remember what it was even about the next day. Has anyone successfully been able to stop this behavior? I began reading a self help book, but can't seem to get through it. LOL
I had a counselor once tell me that I developed it as a young child as a coping mechanism. Possibly to disconnect from arguments going on in my household. Instead of listening to the argument, I would count the letters. While I understand that I probably did need this at one time in my life, I don't believe I need it any longer. I have had a fairly successful life and career, so I don't think it's really held me back, but I often wonder what I could do if I had that brain power back.