Sunday, January 30, 2011

As In Fish Belly White -- Back In the Day #4

I wasn't a bad kid.

That bit of news might come as a surprise given the childhood stories I've shared to this point, but those stories are more the exception than the rule. For the most part I stayed out of trouble, took care of my business, and made good grades in school. (except for the previously mentioned handwriting)

And contrary to the evidence on this blog, I was and still am a very good speller. Sure I transpose letters when I type but I blame than on my fingers not my brain.

So somewhere about 1984, could have been '85, I qualified as one of the two representatives from our elementary school to participate in the citywide spelling bee. I had grand illusions of winning that sucker and earning a trip to D.C., but I of course was thwarted. Not by a challenging word such as mystique or credenza. Oh no I spelled those correctly. I was undone by my own redneck tendencies. You see when my third word was read, my redneck ears heard P-A-I-L as in bucket, as in  ... Billy Bob carried the pail of slop out to feed the hogs.

I never asked for a definition.

I never considered the idea the word could be P-A-L-E as in ... Travis went pale when they said, "I'm sorry that is incorrect. You have been eliminated from the competition."

14 comments:

G said...

Ahhh...spelling bees.

I got eliminated with the word "conscientious"

B.E. Sanderson said...

Ack. Homonyms. I got knocked out on 'simultaneous'. I never spelled it wrong again.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm a good speller too. I always got picked last for sports, but first for spelling bees! But back in the days of the dinosaurs, they weren't treated as a competitive sport beyond the local classroom so I never competed in a big event. Good for you that you did, even if that evil homonym did you in.

Teresa said...

Great post!! I loved your sentences with "pail" and "pale."

DrillerAA09 said...

I never participated in a spelling bee. I'm a pretty good speller on my own, but I fear I would wilt under the lights.
There is just something wrong about give you "Pale" or "Pail" without providing an example sentence. Just sayin'.

sybil law said...

Gah! That is the suck!
I always purposely lost right at the end, because I was terrified of going to the finals.

your other wife said...

Karl was the only one of my kids in a spelling be and he got out on his second word FRET. It was sad!!!!

texlahoma said...

I'm a terrible speller. When I was a kid I was ready lead a rebellion against they way things were spelled, no rules, no logic.

Sucks to loose on a technicality like that.
(Spell check was not used in this comment.)

Hilary said...

Oh ouch. I'm not sure that it would have occurred to me to ask for a definition either.

andrea frazer said...

I'm sorry. But could you spell young adult literature?

Junosmom said...

Well, at least they didn't ask you to spell "tar" which in KY could mean tar, tire, or tower. All pronounced "tar".

lyzzydee said...

Spelling bees , we don't have them!!!!

Barrie said...

Awwww....that's a tough lesson for a kid. I was never chosen to be in a spelling bee.

Lana Gramlich said...

D'oh! (Or is that "dough?")