Sunday, January 29, 2012

Amateurs, Professionals and Spelling Bees

One of my favorite books, and one that I find completely hilarious is a book called "It was on Fire when I Lay Down on it" by Robert Fulghum.  He was quite the story teller, and there were two stories that really stood out to me because they were, as he put it, moments within our traditional mindset when we put amateurs in the position of needing to act like professionals.  As a result, it can be quite an entertaining thing to watch. 

The first of these events is weddings.  I don't even want to pretend to do that story justice, but in "the MOTB" (Mother of the Bride), he describes one of his experiences as a minister in which he councils an MOTB and watches her come completely unwound at the announcement of her daughter's engagement.  Of course, she takes over the wedding, and the hilarity that ensues can only be appreciated from afar, I'm sure.

The second of these is the Christmas Pageant.  Seeing children, parents and teenagers act in such high pressure circumstances, with cameras flashing and the relative importance of the event at stake, that mistakes are almost certain.  His particular retelling of a pageant that decided to use real animals is enough to make you want to double over with laughter.

I want to add to these, without the presumption of being able to tell these stories as expertly as he, but Spelling Bees surely need to be added to this list.  There are such high pressure rules, and the nature of a bee is so serious, with students quietly observing, letters, words and phrases uttered in precise manner, and judges with disqualification bells ready to eliminate the next contestant, that there are bound to be memorable moments.  Potty dances, disappointed stomps and that moment of "Do I raise my hands in excitement or do I just sit here quietly after I won???" were the standard of this year's spelling bee.  It was dramatic, exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time.

But it was completely memorable.