Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Numb Nuts?

Hey, congratulations to Sameer Mishra. Sameer, an 8th grader from Lafayette, IN, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Friday. And if you're thinking, "Spelling shmelling", you're obviously clueless as to the enormity of this whole dealio. Allow me....

Scripps is the E.W. Scripps company. Upon realizing that I have no idea what they do or who they are, I learned, according to their website, that they are "a diverse media concern with interests in national lifestyle cable networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations, electronic commerce, interactive media, and licensing and syndication." So, they've pretty much got their hand in just about every aspect of the media these days and they want to make sure that everything in there is spelled correctly. Or something like that.

Anyway, once a year they hold this spelling bee dealio. You have to be in at least the 8th grade and you can't be older than 14 (you wouldn't think you'd need both of those things spelled out (pun intended), but I'm fairly certain that more than one of the southern states have reason to need both stipulations. (Think Jethro Clampett.) It's in Washington, D.C. and the winner gets about $40K, a trophy, and bragging rights around anyone who thinks that it's cool and who would know that the person is bragging. There's a written test, an oral test, preliminaries, quarter finals, semi finals, and the list goes on. It's more rigid and regulated than trying out for Jeopardy! in hell.

But back to Sameer. For an 8th grader, the guy has nerves of steel. And he's rather amusing also. It's nice to see a guy who appears to be able to interact normally in social situations win the National Spelling Bee. (I'm sure you're shocked, just SHOCKED, to learn that some of the past winners haven't exactly been, um, adept with human interaction.) More on those in a minute. What words did dude have to spell in order to win this thing?
  • CHORION - the highly vascular outer embryonic membrane of reptiles, birds, and mammals

  • NACARAT - a pale red color with a cast of orange

  • SINICIZE - to modify by Chinese influence

  • TALEGGIO - a soft creamy cheese made from the whole milk of cows

  • ESCLANDRE - an event which gives rise to scandal

  • GUERDON - reward

Holy crap. I recognize all but none of those words. I can't imagine that anyone that I will ever speak with in this lifetime would have any cause to actually utter any of those words out loud ever. Again, why must everything be so complicated? You can't just say "reward" or "cheese"? People will know what you mean! They'll get the gist!

But the best moment was when the Guy Who Reads The Words (yes, that's his official title) gave Sameer a word that probably could have been enunciated a little bit better the first time around. And Sameer's reaction to the word is exactly what everyone else's reaction was (which was basically, "WTF?")

What a guy. Numb nuts. Hil-arious. Actually, it's probably too bad that wasn't really the word because things could only get more interesting from that point on. (Next word: "Asshat." "Asshat?" "Asshat." "Could you use it in a sentence?" "He is an asshat.") But in case you were wondering...Behold! A numnah:

And also in case you were wondering....Behold! A condition that would likely cause numb nuts.

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