Friday, April 26, 2013

C-A-R-N-I-V-O-R-O-U-S carnivorous

L-I-N-I-E-R linier. I'm sorry that is incorrect. Please sit down.

That's what started it all when I was 11. It was the city spelling bee and I came in third. I was upset to say the least. So I took a year off because the stress was incredible and...yeah, that's crap. Actually my confidence was shaken, I didn't want to lose again with that many people watching, so I waited until I was 13 and then it was game on. Eighth grade - I studied relentlessly. Then the day came.

It was serene really. I still remember how great I felt. I wore my yellow CHiPs Poncherello Tshirt and jeans. I loved Erik Estrada. He was so handsome. Remember the episode when he crashed his police issued motorcycle and was on death's doorway on the show because in real life he crashed his bike and was seriously injured? That was high quality TV programming.

Away we went to the bee. The place was packed. Round after round, word after word. Finally it was down to Mark F-something and me. I want to say Freebee. It was something like Frieje. His name was right after mine in the alphabet. He always, let me repeat, always got one point more or a percentage point higher than me on everything. He was my arch nemesis. His smug little self sitting behind me in class always with the right answer. I hated that. He was so irritating. He was short, blonde, and brilliant. Yep totally opposite of what I was looking for. Funny how when my girls were growing up I told them to latch onto those ones. "They have the high power earnings potential," I would say. They would "grow into" themselves in college is what I told them. Its true, think about it. You know at least one boy like that.

He probably was a great little kid. He just needed to have an accident so I could be number one in the class. Geez vindictive a little? Ah, I digress - back to the bee. My mom had to leave the room. Later she said she felt like she was going to vomit.

He got his word - baccalaureate. Somehow he spelled it wrong. I couldn't believe it. Neither could he. He had won the bee two years earlier when linear had taken me out of contention. He turned to me and said "that's it, you've won." I said, "not yet, you never give up until its done." The mic picked up our little exchange. I spelled his word and then came mine. Done. Victory.

I loved my Poncherello shirt. I made sure they got it in its full glory in the newspaper story. I kept that shirt for years. Funny how I thought the spelling bee was so important. That beating Mark was so important. When in the end, it was way more important that I become Erik Estada's wife.

I remain an excellent speller.