I never even knew such a thing existed. Oh, I knew all about spelling bees. There just are no good ones.
In my early years the scenario would inevitably play out like this: A normally kind-hearted, sincere, respectable teacher would inexplicably decide to torture us children. She would select the two smart girls in the class as team leaders, and they would in turn each select a team. I was always the second to last picked.
The spell down would ensue as follows:
Teacher: Spell “ape”
Smart Girl: a-p-e
Teacher: Spell “bat”
Other Smart Girl: b-a-t
Teacher: Spell “cat”
Next smart kid: c-a-t
Teacher: Spell “dog”
Next kid: d-o-g
And it would go like that until the kid before me. Then she would turn the page and, as it fell with an ominous thud against the prior page, the teacher would casually comment, “Well, it looks like we're out of three-letter words.”
Inside she was transforming into Darth Vader. I am certain I heard the epic theme music. The air in the room would choke off and the lights would begin to pulsate with the rhythm of my heart. Darth Vader was still ten years in the future, but I knew it would be bad. Between the labored breathing, her voice became deep and she would say,
“Mr. Hodge, spell 'obsequious'.”
My throat would go dry and my tongue would become leaden. “Could you use the word in a sentence please?” I would croak out.
The smart kids in the class would begin to snicker and the teacher would reply, “Your lack of attentiveness is disturbing. 'If you were more obsequious, you would get better grades.'”
And the moment of truth would crush down on me. I would reason that it must be a four-letter word and, in desperation, I would try, “Ob-see-kwee-us.”
The room would erupt into chaotic laughter and the teacher would rage, “None of those are letters! If you never learn to spell, how will you ever survive in life? Are you to become a hermit and live in a cave?” Or something that sounded similar to my stinging ears. I would take my seat along with the derision of my classmates.
Then the teacher would instantly transform back to her sweet self and call on the next kid, “Spell park.”
I'm not sure who invented the spell checker, but that person is one of my all-time favorite heroes! The spell checker ranks right up there with peanut butter in my mind. If you should ever get a hand written letter from me and it is neatly done with all the words spelled properly, it's a fake.
There are several ways to determine an original RV hand written letter. First, the writing is really bad. Second, there will be something misspelled. Third, there is likely to be a serial number. I think I'm on about twelve.