I’m with these folks. Spelling Bees are not to be taken litely or excuse me, lightly.
In 1986, I won the Lincoln Junior High Spelling Bee at the age of 13. A tremendous moment it was, and my name is engraved on a plaque outside the gym to this day. I know this because I ask my niece, an 8th grader there, to check on it periodically.
Kayllatee is also a fantastic speller and has made it to the finals each year going as far as second place. Last month was her final chance at Spelling Bee glory, but she lost to a 6th grader. I couldn’t bee-lieve it. A 6th grader? I called her to find out what happened.
Me: So what happened?
Kayllatee: Uh, I lost.
Me: Any regrets?
Me: Is my name still on the plaque?
Kayllatee: Yes! They don’t put your name on there anymore anyway.
Me: Are you fucking kidding me? Who do I talk to about this!
OK, so I didn’t say “fucking,” but I do want to talk to these people because Kayllatee lost on the word “aphrodisiac.” What are these people thinking? She’s 14 for chrissakes! What if she asked the judge to use it in a sentence? What then?
Our family does have some hope left. Kayllatee’s brother Zachtee is freakishly bright. At six he was able to take everyone’s birthdates and the wedding dates of their parents and figure out who was born illegitimately or not. It was a proud day for us. A spelling bee crown is clearly within his reach.
I talked to their mom about Zachtee’s chances. I told her she should have him up every morning at like 5 a.m. with flash cards and the like.
“Should he be reading the thesaurus?” Staceytee asked.
“Yes, definitely the thesaurus!’ She was on board, I could tell. We talked a bit more, and then she shrieked suddenly. I heard the kids laughing hysterically in the background.
“Ah man, Zach just farted,” Staceytee said.
“Tell him champion spellers don’t do that!” I said.
She did. He didn’t seem to care.