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06 October 2006 @ 07:20 pm
I went out on a Latin word!  
I participated in a SPELLING BEE tonight!

Yes indeedy, you read that right. John's friend Caitlin works at the Brattle Theatre, a non-profit movie theatre that not only screens movies of all crazy kinds, but holds lots of events. Go google it, it's super cool.

Anyway, they had a fundraising event tonight which involved a children's spelling bee, a screening of some Charlie Brown movie, and then an adults' spelling bee. Upon hearing about this, I of course told John I'd be handing his ass to him on a platter. We got there late enough that we were told there were no more slots, and we were BUMMED. But apparently it was so damn popular, they made a waiting list to sign people up for a second round. SCORE!

Caitlin was in the first round, and did promisingly until she spelled "hieroglyphics" with "ei" instead of "ie." I was surprised that the first round of 17 people only took a little over half an hour...and surprised at how many words I wasn't sure about o_O It wasn't a ton - but it was a larger handful than I expected. Shouldn't have been so cocksure, eh? There were a lot of clearly scientific (mostly biology-related, of course) words that no one had ever heard of, and they were scary.

John and I both strolled through a few pretty simple words. I got "mitosis," "clientele," "nocturnal," and "eschew." Then the Beemaster goes from the "hard" category to the "very hard." A bunch of words went by that weren't too scary, and then he says some word that I didn't think I'd ever heard of. "SIR-shee-oh-rare-ee," he says.

Say WHAT? He defines it as some legal term or other, and my wheels are a-turnin'. I know I should know this, I think, but I'd never bloody well heard it before! I stand there thinking to myself for a minute, visualizing it on a page. For a second I thought an S, and then I realized that was ridiculous - surtiorary just didn't look like a word in my head. Suddenly it clicked - DUH. Legal terms. Most of them are out of Latin verbatim. Verbatim. I knew this. It was the passive infinitive of "certioro!" It's not..."S!" I said confidently.

"...oh shit. I didn't mean that! I...I didn't mean S...it's C..."

But of course, I'd screwed myself over. It was done. I was not winning the Book of American Comics, American Heritage Dictionary, Harvard Bookstore totebag, and even more importantly, the tickets to the musical "Spelling Bee." It was...over :-'( For what it was worth, I definitely got sympathy from the audience, especially the round one folks! :-P

John's word, right after me, was "gemutlichkeit." He definitely made an ass of himself, basically insinuating he had no clue, then saying "G...E...M...U...uh...D...;alsjdf;aweoiransd" and various other gibberish. It was quite funny.

What's really amusing is I shared an anecdote with John from my 7th or 8th grade bee (I was in it 6th-8th grades - and actually won in 6th, but was unable to continue to the county bee because we were due in Israel that week). The bee was down to the last three - I was already out - and a kid who I'd pegged to win, a very bright kid, got "millennium." Now, it's not a super hard word, but you have to keep the letters straight, and you have to remember that there are TWO double letters in it, not just one. He hemmed and hawed for a few minutes and had that glint in his eye as though yes, he certainly had this one...and then blurted out "L!"

It's so easy to do. You'd be amazed at how much your heart pounds even when so little is at stake.
 
 
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