Since turning 40, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more inclined to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself with a variety of activities I might not have done 10 years ago, let alone one year ago. One of these recent “activities” was an adult spelling bee. No, I wasn’t inspired by Jason Batman’s latest film Bad Words (I didn’t even know what the movie was about until my best friend made a FB comment on my wall about trying to one up Bateman’s performance). I actually got bit by the bee bug after hearing about it from my friend who’s super brilliant son has been attending the kid’s portion for the past six years: “You should go, it’ll be great fun!” she said. “It’ll be you, me, and a handful of octogenarians and retired school teachers.” That’s all it took. I was sold.
Now, I don’t really flaunt this fact about myself, but I am a excellent speller. It’s true. I was always the one to earn perfect scores on all my spelling tests in school and even to this day, I feel like I found the answer to world peace whenever I find a spelling error in a magazine or newspaper.
What makes me even prouder is that both of my kids are pretty amazing spellers, too. Spelling “antidisestablishmentarianism” is actually one of my daughter’s favorite party tricks.
I’m being completely honest when I say that this bee sounded super dorky, but secretly like an opportunity I’ve been waiting for my entire life. I wasn’t entirely confident about getting on stage in front of a room full of strangers and being asked to spell super hard words into a microphone. But I thought it would (hopefully) be inspiring for my kids to see, which is what pushed me over the edge to sign up.
When we first walked into the location where the bee was being held, I noticed a group of adults literally “studying” spelling bee word books and pacing around like they were waiting on a jury verdict. All this anticipation suddenly made me a bit jittery, too, and when the lady at registration asked me to spell my last name, I couldn’t remember it. Was it D-O-Y-L-E or W-H-A-T-T-H-E-F-U-C-K-A-M-I-D-O-I-N-G?
I’m proud to say that I not only made it to the stage, but I got to the seventh round! My demise was met with the word “hematocrit.” I never heard that one in my life. I repeated it literally 10 times on stage before spelling it H-E-M-A-T-A-C-R-I-T-E.
My kids were proud of me (and happy when I finally got out so we could eat dinner). The fact that I didn’t fly across the country like one of the contestants who got out in the second round was my biggest victory, though. Poor guy.