Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The word that lost me the fifth-grade spelling bee.

Picture me in fifth grade: eagerly nerdy, already a longtime avid reader and aspiring writer. Ready to compete in the annual school spelling bee for fifth-to-eighth graders.

I'd prepared for a week — yes, I was the kid who actually studied the list of spelling bee words — and three-quarters of the way through the competition, it was down to me and four other kids, all older.

My parents and grandmom were in the audience, and onstage, I was given my next word: Macintosh.

I asked for it to be used in a sentence. The proctor said something about a "macintosh yellow raincoat."

"Macintosh," I started. "M-A-C-"
Paused. Began again.
"Macintosh. M-A-C-K-I-N-T-O-S-H. Macintosh."

Macintosh took me down.

To this day, I never hear the word "macintosh" without thinking of that spelling bee.

What was your spelling bee downfall? Any spelling bee champs out there with a winning word?

24 comments:

  1. Yes! I was in the spelling bee in grade school and I choked on a really easy word. I still get wistful every time I see or hear the word "mellow." *shakes head*

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    1. I was brought down by phonetics, too!

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  2. I got out on kitchen...I forgot the T.

    WHO FORGETS THE T?

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    1. To be fair, the T is practically silent!

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  3. I lost with momentum. I lost my place and spelled it momentumum.

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    1. Oh, that stinks! I can totally picture that happening to me.

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  4. Sorry mine was too long ago so I can't remember. I do wish my daughter's teachers in elementary school would have focused on spelling and had spelling bees like you did. Because they didn't focus on it at all and she's a terrible speller. Thank God most of her papers are written on the computer and there's spell check.

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    1. People today are definitely too dependent on spell check and auto correct, no question about it.

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  5. I remember it like yesterday: little 4th grade me and all older kids. I lost on "illegible" - still second-guess myself every time I type it!

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    1. I always have to look twice at illegible!

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  6. My daughter (in fifth grade) told me she wanted to win this year's spelling bee "so bad" because every year so far, only boys have won. She took third place, which I congratulated her for, but she's devastated. She was so determined to win one for the girls! This happened about a month ago, but she still won't let it go. I don't think she will ever forget it.

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    1. What a cute reason to want to win! Congrats on her third place... maybe next year she can win it for the girls!

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  7. Mine was "cellophane." I didn't even know what cellophane was and started it with an "s." Oh well.

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    1. Haha I had no idea what "macintosh" was either. My sample sentence was no help.

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  8. That's so funny! Really, it's the word's fault, because a C in the middle of two short vowels really shouldn't be by itself--it should be the digraph "ck." (Oh, the spelling rules you learn when you teach first grade!)

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    1. And years later, my loss is suddenly validated! Stupid English!

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  9. Fragile. I forgot the e. Now I'm going to go curl up in the fetal position. This is a horrible memory! I'm so sorry about Mactintosh. Your spelling makes sense to me.

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    1. Now all I hear is the dad in A Christmas Story - "Frah-geel-ay. It must be Italian!"

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  10. Two words have gotten me in spelling bees, cabinet and beginning. And right now I'm staring at the both of them wondering if I spelled them right. -.-

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    1. We're all scarred for life by those spelling bees!

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  11. Effervescent - I went with a "v" instead of 2 "f"s. It was actually really weird that I got that word, because I had seen it on the study list before, and even though we'd been told that none of the words on the study list would be in the actual bee (total lie - all the words came from that list), I for some reason felt like I needed to know how to spell "effervescent". So the morning of the spelling bee, I looked it up. Then during the bee, I was supposed to get the word "biscotti" but got pushed back, and what was my word? Effervescent!! So how, HOW, did I manage to spell it wrong? I guess it was the pressure of everything, but now I'm always so mad when I hear that word!

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