The Spelling Bee
It’s been quiet around here. How about a thrilling story from my youth?
I was always a little nerdy (shocker, I know.) And I am naturally a pretty good speller (this doesn’t mean I don’t make typos or spell some words wrong occasionally. Don’t go being an internet jerk and find all my misspellings.) And way back in fourth grade, I was a champion speller. Really.
I went to this awesome elementary school. It was really a crazy place where we ran our own businesses, went on whale watching tours and somehow were let out at lunch time to go to a shopping center for lunch. In any case, like most sane schools, we had an annual spelling bee. The winner gets to go on to the district, etc. The way most classes handled it, was that there was a class spelling bee, and then the winner gets to go on to the school level. Well, I won Mr. Feldman’s class contest, and went to an assembly with all the other 4th, 5th and 6th grade winners.
This thing was really a nail biter. People were dropping like flies, but sure enough, it was between me and Douglas Kasim (I am intentionally misspelling his name. If he found this blog in a vanity search, I would die!). Douglas was a 6th grader. A sixth grader! I was in fourth grade. This.Was.Huge. After a tense moment where the judges debated over “mountainous” – I won the spelling bee. I remember looking out and seeing Mr. Feldman do some sort of crazy fist-pumping action. As the winner I got some giant book called “Liberty” and a spot in the district competition.
Well, for a nerd like me? This was heaven. I went home, every grandparent, everywhere was called. It was a Big Deal. The next morning at school, I was called down to the principal’s office. I almost died. The principal’s office? I have never, ever been down there. Terrified, I went down. In the office was Mr. Siegerman and Douglas Kasim. Apparently, the district competition is only for 5th – 8th grades. Fourth graders were not allowed, and were only allowed to compete on the school level for practice. No one ever thought we would win. So, not only was I not allowed to go to the district competition, they actually asked me for the book back! They were going to strip me of the prize! I don’t remember what happened after that, because I saw the book in my mom’s house the other day – so I guess maybe she called him and told him to go to hell.
In any case, Douglas went to the district. And lost in the first round. And I was never, ever able to win a spelling bee again. I totally freeze. In 5th grade, I got out on the word “chocolate” (I forgot the ‘o’ in the middle).
My grandma had a trophy made up for me. It is still prominently displayed on my bookshelf.