The same way cryophiliacs reverse engineer freezers, then dip their genitals in them.
But even that is harder than it sounds. Remember that, moreso than any other language, English has a long history of borrowing from others. German, French, Latin, Greek, even Native American and Russian -- nearly every language has left its stamp. The result is a confusing mess of contradictory spelling and pronunciation rules. We've got homophones, homographs, and an alarming number of people who don't know the difference.
You could just call them both homonyms, but that would make you a bigot.
My father actually coded a computer program to help me study. But remember that any word or type of word you skim over could be the one that sinks you in the competition, so you're obsessively trying to make sure you don't miss anything. So let me repeat: My Ivy League university was easier.
You're A Spelling Bee Kid For Life
Competing in the National Spelling Bee garners you entry into a fraternity that few are sane enough to join. It follows you for life. I remember meeting Samir Patel back in 2004, when he was nine years old. I watched Alan Thicke call on him during some short-lived Fox game show and ask him how to spell a word. Samir got it wrong, and Thicke used this as an opportunity to be an asshat to a child on live television.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Entertainment
Also known as a "thickehead." Origin: Canadian.
The winner of the Bee gets tons of prizes, media tours, and sponsorships, but they also get the stigma of being "The Spelling Guy" for all eternity. It's weird, but at this point, I can't help but correct even my friends' spelling from time to time. Invariably, I'll get labeled a Grammar Nazi, but guess what? I suck at grammar.
In fact, a lot of spellers do. We all have wayyy above average (bordering pretentious) vocabularies, but many of us still don't write all that well. It's like we studied the spelling of words so hard that now we aren't exactly sure how to put them together in coherent sentences, which you can imagine might make dating a little weird.
James Joyce probably won the Irish Bee 10 years in a row.
The plus side is that I've found I pick up new languages relatively easily. I also don't have to use spell check. I've had people freak out at me for not using the spellchecker on a 20-page paper, only for them to use it and discover that only my last name was spelled incorrectly. Go figure.
Evan V. Symon is the interview finder guy for Cracked.
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