Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Career in Spelling Bees — Part 2 of Recollection of Childhood — and other things

I can't begin to tell you why I have been thinking of this recently, just that I have.

I remember in third grade, we had a classroom spelling bee, which I won. My winning word was "government". I remember pausing after the "R", considering whether the "N" belonged or not. It did not occur to me to ask for a repeated pronunciation or for alternate pronunciations, and it occurred to me that when I had heard the word spoken, it was most often the pronunciation in which the "N" is dropped — which is a legitimate alternate pronunciation in the dictionaries I consulted this morning before starting this blog entry. I opted to throw in the mysterious "N", and I won the bee. Surely my finest moment in this life.

Presumably, winning the classroom spelling bee would have qualified me to go on to compete against all of the other classroom champions in a school-wide bee. However, I have absolutely no recollection of any such thing. I would be almost willing to bet that it did not happen. Almost, but not quite.

Skip forward a year. No longer attending Fields Road Elementary School in Gaithersburg, MD. Fourth grade was spent at Peter W. Crump Elementary School in Montgomery, AL. This time, no recollection whatsoever of a classroom bee. (Again, me almost willing to bet that there was none.) But I do recall going to the auditorium for an all-grades bee. I believe participation was strictly voluntary, and I think it was after the school day had ended — but I wouldn't testify to or bet on that.

My first and only word: "eavesdrop".

I blew it.

However, that's not the interesting part of the story from my perspective, now. The interesting part is that, at the time, the word "eavesdrop" held absolutely no meaning for me. As far as I knew (as far as I know), that was the very first occasion on which I had ever heard the word. How strange is it that I could have gotten to age nine, living in American society, living in a house with an older sister, and managed to never hear the admonition (aimed at either myself or at someone else), "don't eavesdrop"?

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I've mentioned my horrible memory in previous posts. (My last "Recollection of Childhood" post garnered a comment, by an anonymous poster, that sounded vaguely like an insult. That poster called me "Captain Lou". That, of course, was an homage to "Captain Lou Albano", professional wrestler and professional wrestling manager extraordinaire. [Note: I think it's fair to say that I resembled Lou Albano in no way whatsoever, except that we shared a first name.] As if to illustrate my point (and, actually, the point of said anonymous poster) about my horrible memory, I do remember having been called "Captain Lou" by someone in my adolescence, but I can't recall who. Eric, maybe?

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In other news, Google has yet again re-indexed and the end result is that a copyright infringing web site is now receiving the traffic that should be sent my way for folks seeking my bleeding heart flower photograph:

Bleeding Heart Flower, bleeding heart, flower, pink, photography, nature, pretty, beautiful, liberal


This upsets me, and I have now sent two e-mails to the administrator of the offending site. Unfortunately, there seems to be absolutely no way to contact Google directly to get them to make adjustments to protect copyright owners from having their traffic diverted to scofflaws. Harumph. Anyway, I've just posted it again, in hopes of getting Google to re-index, thereby bringing the traffic back to me. And in case anyone is interested in buying the image on a t-shirt or mouse pad, such things are available at Cafe Press.

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