I wanted to sound smart in the title of this post so I visited
href=" http://thesaurus.reference.com/">thesaurus.com synonyms for
the word "jealousy" and "querulousness" caught my eye. I had never
used it before and using new words offers me a brief yet magical
moment of intelligence. Truth is, my vocab sucks.
Perhaps "sucks" is a bit harsh. I mean I do love words. I love playing
with words. Pairing new words together. Taking new words out for a
spin. But between my English as a second language upbringing (I was
raised speaking a mushed up mix of Italian and broken English) and my
intense fear of spelling and pronunciation mistakes, I tend to stick
to words I know and feel comfortable using like "awesome" and "wicked
As a college co-ed I tried to follow though on a goal to randomly open
the Dictionary and learn one new word a day for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately that goal lasted until that Friday's frat party,
suddenly my thirst for knowledge shifted to a thirst for keg-stands. (
I am really good at keg-stands).
So it's no surprise that yesterday I seethed with jealously as I
watched recaps from the Scripps
2007 National Spelling Bee.
These bright, passionate, amazing children are wow-ing America with
their ability to master the English language embrace words with such
bravery and delight without spellcheck! And when they do make
mistakes, they accept defeat with grace. These kids are all champions,
making me feel like a loser.
I began to do what I always do when I feel envy and stupidity: get
mean. Like a teenage bully I began poking fun at these dorks because
after all smart equals geek, right? Nothing remained sacred.
Clothing, haircuts, the shape of their glasses frames, it was all up
for critique by me -- the Meany monster who homework copied her way
through much of high school. Interspersed throughout the recaps were
mini-bios on competitors sharing background on their other hobbies and
interests. Many of these brainiacs were also high achievers in other
areas like music, math and sports. Anqui Dong enjoys comedic films
with Garfield: The Movie being his favorite.
Ha, Garfield: The Movie is his favorite? Clearly this kid has no
idea what good comedy really is. I mean come on, Garfield: The
Movie? I guess comedic genius can be scratched from his resume.
(Note: I have never actually seen Garfield: The Movie; thus my
labeling it as not a true comedy is based on nothing but my annoyance
with Jennifer Love Hewitt.)
I also laughed at the silly words these kids were sweating over. Like
an adolescent I snickered at "fauchard." Meanwhile a real-life
adolescent, 12 year-old Mathew Evans eloquently asked judges to repeat
the word "fauchard" not because he wanted to giggle at it's similarity
to the word "fucktard" but because is a mature, English-excelling,
genius competing in a honored competition and not a 20-something year
old blogger patrolling the Craigslist.org ETC section of the job board
looking for a short and easy, yet lucrative temp job.
After a solid 30 minutes of envy and immaturity, they replayed the
clip of Evan M. O'Dorney winning the entire shebang. This 13 year-old
enjoys the piano, juggling and eats fish before each competition. He
is thin, goofy and absolutely adorable.
Truth is I love these kids. I love that they love spelling so much I
love that they have the dedication and drive to succeed. I'm just mad
that I didn't have that same gusto when I was a teenager (however I
did have the awkward looks). Rather than find fault in these beautiful
kids or resent my former kid-self, I can develop that dedication, that
drive, that gusto in my adult-self.
Actually I take that back, I want to develop a piquant wit and an
adherence to eminence.
(Evan, did that last sentence make sense? Was it okay? I'm scared.)
Actually I take that back too. I just want to be wicked awesome.