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."