Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I saw a terrific movie last night. Spellbound (the link is to the Denver Post review, which is the most worthy-of-being-linked review I can find), a documentary about eight competitors in the National Spelling Bee. I know, it sounds awful. But it's absolutely captivating. It's eight mini-documentaries about the kids, but almost as much about their parents -- some simply in awe of their children, some wishing they'd go to the mall more instead of studying lists of words, and some pushing, and pushing, and pushing. In part, it's a story of the struggles of being a "smart kid." It's wrenching to see these kids standing up at the microphone, after hours upon hours upon hours of studying, one wrong letter away from hearing the ding of the bell and being eliminated. I don't want to give anything away. I just want to convince you to see this movie. Funny, suspenseful, fascinating. Great stuff.

But maybe it's just me. Maybe I just identified more, because of my own, albeit very low-level and not particularly dramatic, spelling bee story: in fourth grade I won my school spelling bee, and went on to the district. I don't know if it was the first round, the second round, I have no idea -- but I was given the word "halibut." The fish. Like at age 9, I'd been to a fish store. And the guy pronounced it kind of weird (actually, this is probably my imagination -- he probably pronounced it perfectly correctly) -- sounded like "hal-ih-biht" to me -- so I spelled it with an "i" instead of a "u," and that was the end of my spelling bee career. And the winning word in the district bee? "Refrigerator." Like any self-respecting 9-year-old speller can't spell refrigerator?

I'm not bitter. But I've never, ever, ever eaten halibut. And I never will. :)