Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This morning, I'll be attending the Harmony Elementary School spelling bee. I would, in fact, prefer not to attend, but my son has made a special point of requesting my presence. This being his first spelling bee ever, he's very excited . . . even after facing his older brother across the breakfast table, who spent an enjoyable twenty minutes eating cereal and shouting, with a comedic smirk, "Are you pumped? Are you pumped?"

I am, in general, a docile attender of school activities. But the spelling bee is difficult for me. My feelings are analogous, I think, to those of ex-high school basketball stars, who spend their middle-age years flinching in the stands as their chunky sixth-graders haplessly lump up and down the court. If I had a blood pressure problem, it would get worse during a spelling bee.

Let me be blunt. I am a really good speller, with a photographic memory for words. I have always been a really good speller. I was the kind of annoying second grader who added "Yugoslavia" to the classroom words-we-want-to-know-how-to-spell list. But I have never been in a spelling bee. For some reason, none of the schools I attended had spelling bees. Nonetheless, I appear to have a lurking competitive spelling spirit, and I literally have to sit on my hands and grind my teeth during middle school spelling competitions. I find it almost unbearable to listen to the halting oral progression of spelling error: "Psychoanalysis. P-H-S-Y-C-O-A-N-N-. . . . "


Update: Came in third. Spelled "artificial" A-R-T-I-F-I-C-A-L. Thank God it's over, for this year at least.


charlotte gordon said...

Oh my G--. What torture for you. I can picture you grinding on top of your hands. I love that you spelled it for us in the post so we could feel the agony. However, THIRD!! Bravo, to him. Apple, tree (as they say, as in the apple did not fall far . . .).
By the way, I went to my first 6th grade basketball game yesterday. I thought of you the entire time. Thank g-- my son's school does not have spelling bees.

Dawn Potter said...

How'd your game go yesterday? We lost ours by dozens of points, as usual.

marci said...

Maine kids have an advantage of sorts, having grown up with Mooselookmeguntic and Memphremagog.

Quick...what's wrong with these spellings? seignorage, psitacine

Dawn Potter said...

I admit that a few words do nail me every time: for instance, Herr Spelling-Bane Nietzsche. Yes, even as we speak, spellcheck is telling me that I have spelled his name wrong. Good thing I fixed it before you saw it.