Posted by: laughs4dads | June 23, 2010

Under the Spell

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate 14-year-old Anamika Veeramani, who is this year’s winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She won simply by spelling her name.

No, just kidding. She won by spelling “stromuhr” which is obviously a word the judges made up just to stump the contestants.

Just kidding again. A “stromuhr” is an instrument designed to measure the amount and speed of blood flowing through an artery. As in, “Gee, my blood is feeling a little slow today. Could you please pass the stromuhr so I can measure its speed?”

Anyway, back to young Anamika. She is the third consecutive Indian-American spelling bee winner, and the eighth in the last 12 years. Which raises this question:

If a child is born to American parents living in India, is she an American-Indian and, if so, how can you tell her apart from an American Indian who is part owner of a casino here in America?

But I digress. And I probably offend.

Let’s get back to spelling or, as my daughter Casey would say, “speling.”

When Casey was in elementary school, teachers were very concerned that students should just be able to get their thoughts down on paper. The spelling will come later, they said. So Casey would bring home samples of her writing that looked like they were in some sort of secret code, rather than anything resembling English.

By middle school, the spelling still hadn’t come. And now we weren’t expecting it to, because, by that time, the curriculum our elementary schools had been using had been discredited. So my wife and I asked Casey’s English teacher to give her some extra work in spelling. And he did. He gave her a little spelling quiz every week. I knew we were sunk when she brought one home to show us how she was improving. She had spelled “calendar” with an “er” at the end. The teacher had marked it correct.

And now, of course, spelling is out the window entirely because of texting.

It’s the same thing with math. You just know that the check-out girl wouldn’t have a clue how much change for a five to give you on your $4.98 purchase if the cash register didn’t tell her.

It seems to me that the majority of Americans simply care less and less about this stuff. Can’t add? You have a calculator on your cell phone. Can’t spell? That’s what spell check is for. Why bother to learn it unless you really have to because you’re a professional mathematician or a professional, um, speller?

I’ll tell you why. Wait a sec…let me think…there must be a reason…ah, yes!

Because of the aliens!

We all know from watching movies that one day aliens will come to earth and destroy our way of life and all our devices with an electro-magnetic pulse or something. And then where will we be without even the most rudimentary math or spelling skills to survive on?

Do you think Will Smith will be there to save you when you can’t spell out messages to your fellow underground resistance fighters?

No he will not. He will be too busy helping traders make change for a twig, which, of course, will be the official currency.

You see, spelling is important. So come on, kids. Get out there and spell something!

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