The thing about the spelling bee is, it's stoopid and un-kewl.
Unless you or, better still, your child happen to be a finalist in it. Then it's ultra-awesome, prestigious beyond measure, super stupendous and an all out war to the bitter F-I-N-A-L-E, finale.
Listen, I remember being in my grade school spelling bee very clearly. Yes, grade school - that's what it was called back when you went to the same school from first through eighth grade and kindergarten was optional though walking to school was not. My siblings, friends and I used our "foot mobile" power to get there every morning. I digress.
So, I did OK in the school bee; I've always been a words girl and all. But I never made it to a regional competition. That sort of feat was (and is) reserved for only the smartest, hippest kids in the school. Kids who were really bright, slick and on-the-ball - people like, you know, that boy of mine.
OK, all right already I'm proud of my kid, so shoot me! He won his middle school spelling bee (yep, tops in the whole school!) and moved on to regional competition.
An accomplishment, by the way, that neither of his parents, none of his cousins nor any other easily traceable blood relative has achieved, so there. What a deed; what a coup! What a tremendous accolade - or at least, that's what I heard.
Oh, did I neglect to mention that Kerry and I didn't attend the middle school bee because our only child literally begged us not to go?
"If you're there it will make me too nervous!" he protested.
Luckily for me, the Mom Underground is active and fully functional. Indeed, I received a play-by-play of Kyle's every move right up to the last moment when he beat a seventh grader to win the whole kit and caboodle! He officially progressed to the Big Bee.
Before he even had the chance to consider pre-emptive action, my hubby and I chimed in unison: "We will be there no matter WHAT."
And so we were.
We watched our son calmly stride to the microphone through four of the five rounds it spanned and smoothly glide through words such as "gregarious" or "autonomous" with the greatest of ease and very little effort.
Not only were we bursting beyond joy with pride that our offspring nailed his school spelling bee, had his name plastered across the middle school marquis for the entire community to see on every trip to the mall and was blistering through words that could easily take down college grads, but it was his unassuming attitude toward the honor with which we were most impressed. He wasn't only composed; he was truly humble.
In fact, we were clearly more nervous than he, and I even found myself entertaining fleeting thoughts of students from other schools fumbling over their consonants and accidentally inverting them with vowels - or omitting silent letters I actually heard myself groan after one speller mastered "discernment."
Tsk. "Big deal, everyone knows that one," I thought silently.
OK, I said I was proud of my son, not necessarily myself.
Anyway, when we heard the Round 4 word (which would ultimately take Kyle out of contention), we weren't the least bit concerned. "Ah, with all our trips to Taco Bell and Chipotle, this is a cinch!" thought Mom. Alas, it was not. And, though I choose not to pay tribute to the Mexican menu item that felled my boy by revealing it, I have vowed never again to eat one.
Oh well, who needs spelling, anyway? It's not like we need it to sukseed or prospir or make good impreshuns on people about our inteligents or anything. Stupid spelling.
Only teasing! Spelling rocks and so does Kyle - way to go, buddy!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who is currently in litigation protesting the use of foreign food stuffs as acceptable spelling bee words. Contact her after you spell check at firstname.lastname@example.org.