DO i SOUND like A musical ROBOT?
I have a lot of rare but unmarketable skills, like being able to immediately name the celebrity voiceover in commercials, or having excellent penmanship, or always swallowing. However, I do not have any skills that could be properly displayed in a talent show, which is why, growing up, I got really excited every year about the school spelling bee. Words! That’s all I got! Bring it on! I mean, come on, I sleep with a dictionary! You think I’m kidding but I’m not!
Perhaps I got a little too into the spelling bee, because last summer I uncovered a 7th grade journal wherein I had filled an entire page with ways to “psyche out Lisa S., since she is my only real competition” the night before the spelling bee in 1989. I did not win the spelling bee in 1989, or 1991, or 1988, or 1987, for that matter. I always came close—like top three close—but for all my word skills, I am just not spelling bee winner material.
I now live with some literary like-minded ladies, so my roommates and I were all very interested to see that our favorite neighborhood dive, Freddy’s, would be hosting a spelling bee on August 25. We’ve had the flyer on our fridge all month, and it’s been all anyone in our house could really talk about, save for a few other issues like Halloween costume ideas and rent increases and marriage. I would go so far as to say that, in the past week, our house has been abuzz with speculation. What if one of us won? Would they make us take a shot as we were promoted to the next round? Would there be a trophy? Could we wear the trophy around our neck like Flavor Flav? So last night we all walked down the street and paid our $1 and had the spellmaster put our names on the list, and I got so excited that I could feel my skin getting hot just sitting there.
Then I got out on my very first word.
Seriously, all reason and knowledge just flew out of my head. The very nice spellmaster guy said, “accelerate,” and looked at me kindly, and my mind went completely blank like I’d never even heard English before. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT HE SAID, I could not put understand, but there was that microphone in front of me waiting for it, and so I just opened my mouth and busted out with some E-X-C-E-L-E-R-A-T-E. Um. WTF. Clearly I’ve been using too much Microsoft Office and not doing enough driving, but man! That’s some serious loss of cred right there.
So I had the walk of shame back to our table, and now my skin was hot for a different reason, but the rest of the bee was really fun to watch. I put my money on the guy named Linus who ended up winning, so I sort of won too. Only not at all, not really.
There was a guy there taping the evening for a segment on WNYC’s The Next Big Thing, and he interviewed me for about five minutes, during which I somehow managed to give some begging-to-be-used soundbite encouraging small children to drink. I really hope my parents don’t hear that if it airs. For one thing, they’ll realize all those accelerated classes didn’t do shit.