This Thursday, the Union-Tribune will hold its annual countywide spelling bee. On the model of the collectively busy bee, we call these events spelling bees. In 19th-century America a bee indicated a community effort in which neighbors pitched in, often to help out a family. Examples include chopping bee, husking bee, logging bee, quilting bee, house- or barn-raising bee, sewing bee, spinning bee and, ultimately, spelling bee.
A man, wanting to rob a downtown Corpus Christi Bank of America, walked into the branch and wrote, “This iz a stikkup. Put all your muny in this bag.” While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he could reach the teller window. So he left Bank of America and crossed the street to Wells Fargo.
After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells Fargo teller. She read it and surmised from his spelling errors that he was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. She told the would-be robber that she could not accept his stick-up note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to the Bank of America.
Looking somewhat defeated, the man said, “Okay,” left the bank and headed back across the street. The Wells Fargo teller then called the police, who arrested the man a few minutes later as he was waiting in line back at the Bank of America.
Another bank robber in Bumpis, Tennessee, handed a teller the following note: “This is a rubbery. I have an oozy traned on your but. Dump the munny in a sack, this one. No die pakkets or other triks or I will tare you a new naval. No kwarters with red stuff on them, too.” The teller started laughing, and the man fled the bank in embarrassment and with no booty.
In both instances, we note the relationship between bad spelling and incompetent commission of a felony. Educationist Dr. Creon V. B. Smyk says such notes are, lamentably, the rule. “Right across the board, we see poor pre-writing skills, problems with omissions, tense, agreement, spelling and clarity,” he laments.
Some spellos are especially embarrassing. Winners of the Yellowstone County Spelling Bee, in Montana, received awards congratulating them on their SPEILLING. The crimson-faced organizers had the plaques redone to correct the spelling of spelling. A sign in front of a school identified the place as “Bridgeton High School — Where Excellance is a Tradition.”
President Donald Trump’s tweets may be unpresidented. That mangling of the adjective unprecedented is just one of a slew of spelling shokers that haunt our nation’s Tweeter-in-Chief’s communiqués. Call me a dummer, rediculous, leightweight chocker unable to tapp into my inticts. I hear by declare that I shall not loose my honer as your trusty word guy because every spello in this paragraph is a genuine, certified, authentic Trumpism.
Here’s more evidence that a spell of bad English has afflicted our great nation:
- If a tree falls in the dessert, does it make a sound?
- In Pittsburgh they manufacture iron and steal.
- East Texas Cable Company: Please bare with us while we are working to improve service.
- On Thanksgiving morning we could smell the foul cooking.
- Vestal virgins were pure and chased.
- Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a considerable decline in the value of the rubble.
- In midevil times most people were alliterate.
- Now Hillary Rodham Clinton has returned, a kinder, gentler first lady, her tarnished halo residing over her well-coffered head.
- Ballroom dancing is an excellent way to improve your balance, keep you motivated, enhance your memory and meet new friends. Wear proper footwear and lose clothing.
- Marital Arts Studio
- I am opening an organic pet supply store and am looking for home bread puppies.
- You are invited to Sally Curtis’s retirement party. No gifts, just the honor of your presents.
- The company will decide whether or not to recognize same-sects marriages.
- She had been really sick and fell into a comma for six months.
- The boy peddled his bicycle from South Dennis to Yarmouth.
- Sex should not be aloud.