I’ve had vague thoughts of starting a blog for, I don’t know, five years now? What stopped me was twofold. First, what the heck do I name it? Hell if I know. I settled for grabbing two seemingly random words from my “Words I Like” list and mashing them together. Done. Second, where the heck do I start? That first post, what do I do? Do I write something totally random? Do I try to be earth-shatteringly brilliant? Do I just ask a bunch of rhetorical questions? Hmmm??
I’ll tell a story. I went out to grab lunch a few days ago, to this little sandwich/smoothie spot by my house. They run daily specials, and the special of that particular day was a “rasberry smoothie.” Rasberry. My left eye started twitching, and I had to resist the urge to curl up into a ball and gently rock back and forth. You see, dear blog reader
s (hi mom!), when I was nine, I was a finalist in the Ramblewood Elementary School spelling bee. I would like to say that I studied the list of words the school had sent home like I was preparing to defend a dissertation, but in reality I glanced at it for five minutes, let my mom quiz me a few times, and went back to reading The Babysitter’s Club. I wasn’t in it to win it.
So the day of the spelling bee arrived, and the entire school piled into the auditorium/cafeteria (the same auditorium/cafeteria where a lovely lunch lady once told me she wouldn’t help me open my milk carton because “retarded kids can do that.” True story. Ah, the politically incorrect 80s). Through some miracle of the universe, I had the good fortune of being tossed softballs every time I stood at the microphone, and I soon found myself as one of the final two contestants. The other was my friend Lisa. Lisa was smart and all, but I was on a roll, dammit, I had tasted the beginnings of victory, and I was going to win this thing. I stepped up to the mike, waiting for them to ask me to spell dog or cup or something equally ridiculous, and then they threw me ‘raspberry.’
Because you’re smart, you can probably already guess that I left the ‘p’ out, Lisa got it right, and I came in second. But that’s not the worst part of the story. That comes when I left the stage and found my mom in the audience. I walked over to her, waiting for some good motherly consolation and a nice pat on the back, when instead she shook her head and said “I knew you were going to get that wrong.”
In my mom’s defense, this wasn’t a Joan Crawford moment or anything. She only meant that she knew I hadn’t studied the list that thoroughly, and ‘raspberry’ hadn’t been one of the words we’d gone over. Her intentions were good, her delivery was just plain terrible.
But from that day on, whenever I see raspberry spelled without the ‘p,’ my mind snaps back to a very bad place, and I have to restrain myself from rummaging around in my purse for a pen and ^ing that sucker.