so THAT’S how you spell it!

it is a testament to the failure of my precocious pre-school + elementary school years as a ballerina that i am just now aware of the proper spelling of that word.

i always assumed it was spelled like “sashay”  or maybe “shasay” –

shows how much i know about ballet {hint: not much}.

it’s times like this that i realize i am not nearly as cultured as i aspire to be.

i am a downright philistine.

also, french words have a way of eluding me spelling-wise:

when i was in fourth grade, i entered our school spelling bee

{as one does at the tender age of nine years}

after winning the grade-level bee.

i’m on stage, ready for my word.

{which was supposedly chosen at random via a drawing out of a hat — stereotypes aside.}

i feel confident that i shall beast this bee as i did the previous one.

{incidentally, that year i was allowed to design my own spelling tests since the class tests were ridiculously easy. i also chose to go by the name ‘kinipela’ as it meant ‘white wave’ in hawaiian and was ergo a close approximation of ‘jennifer’ which i found out after creating for myself a hawaiian-themed spelling list – yes, i was am weird.}

so the judge delivers my word.

“your word is, ‘denier’.”

oh, f***, i am thinking in slightly more appropriate, nine-year-old terms.

“may i have the definition?”

i ask, slight panic in my voice, hoping to buy a scrap of time within which to come up with the best b.s. approximation of the proper spelling that i can.

“de·ni·er – /dəˈni(ə)r/: noun. a unit of weight by which the fineness of silk, rayon, or nylon yarn is measured, equal to the weight in grams of 9000 meters,”

 cites the judge dutifully, a glimmer of malice in her eyes.

what. does. that. even. mean ??? my little nine-year-old mind races.
well, there’s no point in delaying the inevitable.
i charge onward:
“d – e – n –
{pause as i decide whether to gamble or not…}
“u – r – e ?”
“i’m sorry, that is incorrect.”
{taking the safe spelling route did not pay off. clearly. darn it.}
:: cue my little heart and soul breaking ::
fast forward to the next week, when the school winner {on the word “giraffe” no less} rapidly loses in the first round at the county bee on the word…
{yeah, i’m clearly still bitter. fifteen years later. whatevs.}

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