October 3, 2006KR BlogUncategorized

The Bee

While I was in graduate school, lots of people around me suddenly got very interested in writing about real bees, the kind they were studying over in Cornell’s Ag School, the kind Virgil writes about in the fourth of his excellent Georgics. But I want to say a few words about spelling bees. I was a bee-lover in elementary and middle school. I was, in fact, a bee show-off. I made it to Louisville, my regional bee, in 1988; I’ve still got the $50 savings bond to show for it. I even dated a guy, once upon a time, who’d made it to the nationals. That’s not why I dated him. But I’ll freely admit that–though we were in our twenties at the time–I was impressed (and not in an ironic way) by his tale of youthful achievement.

I broach the topic of spelling bees not simply to give you a glimpse into one more corner of my logomaniacal life, and not at all to trigger traumatic memories in any of our faithful readers. No, I want to share the news that the Harvard Book Store (where I would hang out all the time if it weren’t hundreds of miles away and if it had comfortable seating, or any seating at all) is gearing up for The Bee, billed as “A Spelling Bee Extravaganza.” I already have plans (and good ones, at that) for this Thursday night, but if there were any way to pull it off, I’d be making my nerdy way to Cambridge to throw down in this event. Can you imagine an adult spelling bee in Cambridge, MA, with beer? (And I don’t drink beer, so I’d even have a leg up when the adult bee swung into high gear!) It’s in a joint like that that a bookish girl might find a wordy companion–and might even face down having misspelled “palatial” on that Louisville stage more than half her life ago.

And so, if we have Cambridge-area readers, I implore you from this cricket-songed, cornfielded rural enclave: if you’re free on Thursday, at least consider going to The Bee–and perhaps even filing a report from the field.