I left work later than I planned yesterday, but it was for a good cause. If I hadn’t stayed late to finish my blog post you fine people would not have read my latest ramblings about work and life and future plans and such. I went home and pushed myself to do my Wii Fit workout even though it was nearly 7:00 and I knew it would mean not eating dinner until 9:00 or 9:30.
I did my 59 minutes of Wii Fit exercise which took an hour and 46 minutes to accomplish (a definite flaw in the Wii Fit design) and then adjourned to the bathroom to take a shower. Afterward, I went into the kitchen to cook dinner and when it was nearly done I stopped by the television and turned it on to get it ready for my viewing pleasure.
I was a little surprised to see on my screen the Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals. It was near the end of the 10th round and a young lady by the name of Kavya Shivashankar was standing at the microphone. I was surprised for a moment to see this being broadcast on ABC on a Thursday night. “Who would watch this?” I thought for a moment and then I remembered that the television season is essentially over and the networks have shied away from airing reruns of television shows that people actually like watching in favor of finding new content… Apparently ANY new content. And then the word was given. “Please spell huisache,” the announcer said.
Huisache! What kind of word is huisache!?! I thought, OK, I’ll leave this on while I finish cooking dinner. I returned to the living room with my food just in time to see Tim Ruiter begin to spell cretonne. As I settled into my recliner, with my tray and my plate of Salmon and broccoli, I reflected on my own single Spelling Bee experience:
I was in the second grade when it was announced that Old Dead Former Superintendent Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio would be conducting a Spelling Bee. I thought this would be pretty exciting. I was a pretty good speller so this should be a walk in the park.
They took us out of our regular classes and brought us into the cafeteria where they had one hundred twenty chairs in five rows set up in a half circle facing the podium and the microphone where the announcer would be. Behind the chairs sat the cafeteria tables set up in rows. Whenever someone misspelled a word and was therefore disqualified from the competition, they would go to the cafeteria tables and wait till the spelling bee was over.
They had us seated in alphabetical order by last name, so I sat for a long time, waiting for my turn to spell. One by one the students would go up to the front to the second microphone, the announcer would give them their word and they’d spell. Word after word, I listened as the announcer listed what I considered a simple word. Word after word I listened as the students spelled the word and more often than not in that first round, they misspelled the word and went to sit at the tables and wait. Word after word, I laughed silently, because this was going to be so easy and they were dropping like flies.
Finally it was my turn and I walked up to the microphone with a smile on my face. This was going to be like candy from a baby. I stopped in front of the microphone and looked up at the little old lady who on most days was the librarian, but today was the oh so official word caller outer. I looked up at her and she looked down at me. I watched as she picked up the card with my word on it. I took a deep breath as she reviewed the card. And then with her southern drawl she slowly and elongatedly said, “Ccccoooolllleeeehhhh Ssssllllaaaawwww”.
Wow! Such an easy word and I know exactly what that is. Although, I thought that was two words. They can use two word words in this contest? Weird. I’m gonna milk this for all it’s worth. “Could you give me the definition?” The little old southern librarian word caller outer lady described for me a mixture of cabbage and carrots with a mayonnaise dressing, most frequently served at picnics. I knew that. I just wanted to make her go through the motions. “Could you please use it in a sentence?”
“When the assignments were made for what to bring to the picnic, Sally volunteered to bring the Ccccoooolllleeeehhhh Ssssllllaaaawwww.”
I paused for a moment for dramatic effect. I was going to make the most of this moment. “Could you repeat the word?” I asked.
“Ccccoooolllleeeehhhh Ssssllllaaaawwww” She said.
Finally, I was ready to spell my ridiculously easy word. I pronounced the word for her and began to spell, “C-O-L-D S-L-A-W. Cold Slaw.”
“I’m sorry that is not correct,” she told me. “The correct spelling is C-O-L-E S-L-A-W.”
You see, this may not come across clearly in the written story, but with her southern inflection and what I perceived to be emphasis on the final sound of the first word, whereas I had gone into the round with the belief that the item was spelled C-O-L-E after listening to her speak the word several times, I was convinced that I had been mistaken and the word was in fact cold and not Cole.
My chin dropped to my chest and I was angry, blaming the little old southern librarian word caller outer lady for causing me to misunderstand the word and lose ON THE FIRST ROUND. With that, I had to go and sit at the cafeteria tables, with all the rest of the losers, literal and figurative, and wait. The rest of the kids seemed to be better spellers than I, and I sat and waited for the ordeal to end for what seemed like hours!
I swore I’d never participate in another Spelling Bee, ever and I haven’t. Of course, I’ve never had an opportunity to participate in another one, but I don’t know that I would have if I had gotten the opportunity. Ironically, my spelling has gone way down hill since then, spell check is my friend… And I’m not terribly fond of Cole Slaw either.
I quickly turned off the Scripps National Spelling Bee and instead watched The Gayest Episode of the Tonight Show ever!