Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I fail at spelling

On Monday a friend and I competed in the locally infamous Williamsburg Spelling Bee at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn. Pete's is a really nice space, much like the kind of bars I imagined hanging out in when I moved to Manhattan before discovering they'd all been forced out by the high rents. The Bee was held in Pete's back room, a space which resembles nothing so much as a totally pimped out subway car interior. It's a great alternative to a quiz night, catering to the people who played more Scrabble growing up than Trivial Pursuit. There were about 20 participants representing a range of spelling abilities and backgrounds, from erudite hipsters to academic types complete with leather-patched tweed jackets. Somehow I missed the chance to participate in a spelling bee growing up, so I went into it really excited at the chance to show off my spelling chops. Then I realized, as the rounds progressed, how much years of relying on spell check software and writing nothing more involved than bullet point-based sentence fragments had atrophied what skills I might once have had. I survived a couple of rounds but was eventually undone by "prestidigitator," "antiphonal," and "intaglio" (the bee uses a "3 strikes and you're out" format). All in all, good times, though I will probably not be making a return visit until I've had a chance to brush up on my spelling skills a bit more.

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