In America when you are trying to time counting seconds you often say Mississippi in between each number: "One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi..." Do they have something like that in England?When Layah wrote to me, I took the matter to Twitter, asking people to let me know what they use. And so if this post seems like a repeat, you may have read about this already. I was surprised to learn that I hadn't blogged it at the time. So, here it is!
In my American growing-up, there were two ways we did such counting -- very useful when playing hide-and-seek. One was one Mississippi, two Mississippi; the other was one one-thousand, two one-thousand... And other Americans may use other things, but Mississippi is indeed widespread.
The British also have one one-thousand, but lots of others. The most common ones among(st) my Twitter correspondents were one elephant, two elephant and one Piccadilly, two Piccadilly. Many others were offered, including lots of other animals: chimpanzee, hippopotamus, crocodile.
This is the kind of informal, playground thing that is subject to lots of creativity and variation. You're welcome to offer yours in the comments--but please remember to say where you're from!