As evedenced by the comments to my my last post, my spelling isn’t something I ever brag about. I generally embrace my poor spelling, which as of late has been harder to spot seeing as technology has made it diffacult for me to miss spell anything with spell checker and predictive text and stuff like that. My poor spelling has never really gone well with my large vocabulary and even more imppresive vernacular. Usually those who chance to use large uncommon words are thought to be very good spellers. I am not, even though a lot of people think I am.
The “route” versus “root” in my last post could be argued as not being misspelled, as the word “route” is actually a word, a spelled correctly word hence spell checker not catching the error. However, it was not the word I intended, and therefore was misspelled. Seriously, had some one come up to me and asked me “how do you spell root, like the root of a tooth?” I guaruntee I would have goten it right, but just typing it out, and thinking of whole sentences at a time, and often contemplating the entire next paragraph while typing I just never even thought about seeing route in the text. Even when I proof read it three times before sending it to my dentist.
Alas, I would like to blame some popular desease or learning disability, and even though I probabley have a few, there is a pretty good reason why I can’t spell.
When I was in fifth grade, I discovered cheating. I started to spend all of my coginitive energy on detirmining the easyest and best way to cheat on all of my tests and assignments. I really did work hard at it, and so I don’t know if it could be attributed simply to laziness or going the easy way out. The skills I learned in 5th grade stuck with me for the rest of my life, despite a very powerful lesson that should have taught me better.
My fifth grade teacher really liked me. I would score very high on my tests, I was very outgoing, and I think even at the age of 9 I was very charming. I never got caught cheating because I was so clever. Kids were always geting caughtcheating, writing answers between their fingers, puting slips of paper tucked inside their pants, writing on their chest upside down, or wearing shorts and writing on their leg, all of the old stand-by’s required to much movement and work. My method was, I thought, (and still think) geniuos. I would write answers to things in the botom hem of my shirt. When you sit down it is completely natural for the hem to fold up. The half inch bit of cloth could hold parragraphs worth of information. If I wore a white shirt I could even write it in pencil so I could smear it away before it made the wash. My one big fear was my Mom noticeing while doing my laundry. I learned at a young age that my Mom was very smart, and had she seen it she would have known exactley what was going on. I remember being very careful to make sure my shirts weren’t inside out when I put them in the laundry so that my Mom wouldn’t have to handle them anymore than she had to. As far as I was concerned, fifth grade was a breeze.
There came an opportunity for the State Spelling Bee and I was one of two students selected from my grade. We were Mrs. Stroms favorites, Rebekah, the other girl, was really smart. Like she didn’t cheat, and I was still having a hard time competeing with her. We were boyfreind girlfreind in the third grade, but we couldn’t overcome our physical niavity, and the furthest I ever got was holding hands, and giggleing by the tether ball court. So needless to say it didn’t work out. At some point I must have thought, “I don’t know how to spell, I always cheat, when they ask me words what am I going to do.” Instead I thought only about the fact that my Mom was driving, and that we would be picking Rebekah up, and Rebekahs adopted sister, she was a grade older, and I had the hugest crush on her. I’m pretty sure the only thing I thought about for three weeks from the day I found out my Mom was driving, to the moment we arrived at her house the day of the “Bee”, was the hope of seeing even for a brief moment, Jennifer the Chinese beauty. I must have not realized she’d be at school because I distinctively remember my dissapointment when Rebekah got into the car and told me Jennifer was at school… a few minutes after that I started to think about what I had gotten myself into. My whole class was going to be sitting in their classroom listening to this on the radio. I’m sure my Dad and Grandma and lots of people who loved and supported me were going to be listening. I got a little nervous, but my Mom mentioned to my Rebekah and I that we were going to McDonalds afterwards, I was pretty excited for that and forgot all about the spelling bee.
We arrived at this city building, I think. I had no concept of geography or architecture and have no clue where we actually were. They debreifed us and explained all the rules. I was wondering what my first word was going to be. I really hoped it would be ‘business” I remembered how to spell that, it is “busy” with and “I” plus “ness”. I still use that little trick today when I spell the word “business.” Any way, a bunch of kids there, and out of Rebekah and I, I went first. They shuffled me into this room which was dark, and there was a microphone hanging from the ceiling. I bright light shone on me, and there were people everywhere, I’m not sure if I was on a stage or what, it is all very blurry because I was incredibly nervous. A voice came out and said “your word is EDUCATION” then it used that word in a sentance (which I can’t remember.) I thought for a moment, I remember thinking I don’t want to rush through this and say the wrong letter cause you couldn’t change a letter once it came out of your mouth. After thinking for a while, (it seems now like an hour but surely it was only a minute or two) I had it! I ran the spelling through my head one more time, and thought “I am lucky this was my first word cause I know how to spell this one. I opened my mouth and said “Education E – D – J – U – C – A – T – I – O – N education.” I remember smiling a bit, so pleased with my perfect delivery. Then the voice said “That is incorrect.” I went outside and thought, “What did I get wrong?” My Mom had that kind of dissapointed but still loves me and is trying to hide it look on her face, she told me about the “J” and I’m sure I cried at some point, even though I have no memory of crying. I do however remember sitting in a lobby for an hour and a half waiting for smarty farty Rebekah to get out. She made it all the way to the final three, I don’t remember the word she got out on, but I had never heard it, and probably couldn’t spell it today. We still got to go to McDonalds, and I soon forgot how bad the whole experiance was. My classmates mocked me for getting out on my first word for months, but we were all too young to catch the irony that the word happened to be “education.” Besides I was still the tether ball and dodge ball champion in my grade (until Shawn Murray moved to my school, but that’s another story) and everyone loved me for it… kind of like how now athleates are paid millions of dollars and teachers are only paid thousands – and not even that many thousands. Society knows whats up right? So the fact that I can’t spell isn’t really whats important.
I never got caught for cheating, and I am pretty sure my Mom just found out (while reading this post) My shirt hem trick served me well all the way to college, but as the answers got bigger the older I got the practicallity of it’s use became less potent. So I actualley did learn a thing or two in school. I just never learned to spell. So laugh it up, mock away, I am used to it. I have purposley not used spell check while writing this post just so you can further take the mick out of me. Being a public embarassement over the radio didn’t bother me 20 years ago, and your high minded mockery of my spelling doesn’t bother me now either. You can spell, and I bet you never went to the state spelling bee, so, so there.