Let's back up to the fifth grade. My rapid-fire communication was just starting to develop, and I had yet to fully realize that the manner in which I sometimes spoke was proving to be a communication barrier. Anyway, I was so excited because I had advanced from a school spelling bee to some sort of spelling bee that was being held at the mall. Yes, that's right--the mall!! The perfect mixture of two of my favorite things: shopping and school! I just knew I would do well surrounded by various retail comforts...I mean, how could I perform badly in a spelling bee that was taking place just outside the juniors department of Kaufmann's?
Regardless, my nerves were getting the best of me on the day of the bee. Not even my triple layers of colored scrunchie socks could calm the butterflies that were break-dancing in my stomach. There would be so many people there...I couldn't disappoint my teacher who would be in the audience...would my bangs stay curled under the pressure? With so many things to worry about, the question of me actually spelling the words correctly never even entered my mind.
All of the kids in the spelling bee were instructed to line up and the moderator went over the rules of the bee. We were told that the first round would be a sort of practice round, meaning the words would be very easy so we could get used the the format. And, easy they were. When my turn came up and the moderator said, "Berry" I thought to myself, Piece of cake! And, without skipping a beat, I spelled that word faster than you can blink an eye. I smiled and was just about to move to the end of the line, when I heard the moderator say, "Incorrect."
"The correct spelling is B-E-R-R-Y."
"But...that's what I said."
"No, you said B-R-R-Y. I'm sorry, but you're out."
That was it...my appearance in the spelling bee had lasted all of 23 seconds. I was stunned. I couldn't be out! Who in their right mind would spell "berry" that way?! Without a vowel, even! I knew that wasn't what I had said, but it didn't matter because that was what the judges had heard. I was utterly embarrassed at the thought of people actually thinking I could not spell the word "berry." And, that instead of going down in history as the winner of the mall spelling bee with the really cool colored scrunchie socks, I would be forever known as the only person to get eliminated in the practice round of a spelling bee.
As the tears began to cloud my vision, it wasn't my fast talking that I regretted, but the socks. Perhaps three colors had been too much.