Friday, June 30, 2006

Word of warning

We have already established that many of you share my propensity to get a word stuck in my head, and because I have grown fond of you I am passing on some important information as a public service announcement, so that you can benefit from my tragic mistakes:

Do not - no matter how strong the temptation or how great the urge - DO NOT watch the televised finals of the National Spelling Bee.

This year, the finals aired in prime time on ABC on June 1. One full month ago.

And for a month, this is what's been on my mind: heiligenschein.

I can't shake it.

Heiligenschein. It wasn't even the winning word. It was an 11th round elimination. But it was high drama. In fact, from time to time I find the whole dialogue coursing through my brain - first the cool, level-headed, unemotional pronoucer, then the increasingly anxious and emotional speller:

"The word is heiligenschein."



"Heiligenscheid? Or heiligenschein?"




"Are there any other pronunciations of the word?"

"Just heiligenschein."


This morning I went for a walk and discovered halfway through that I was walking in time to the cadence of this dialogue.

So, please, it's too late for me, but save yourself. Find out when the next National Spelling Bee will air, and make other plans. Cancel your cable if you need to. Do whatever it takes.

In fact, now that I think about it... just to be safe, maybe you'd better stop reading my blog as well.


not my blg said...

I watched the spelling bee too. I wasn't struck with a word, but on the biographical sketches of some of the students. Specifically the home school boy. His first words at 18 months were exit and stop. He would spell them out E-X-I-T, EXIT or Stop, S-T-O-P, Stop! Alexander has been doing this since he was 20 months old. He doesn't do it as much anymore, but he is facinated with words and constantly reading and spelling words. I couldn't help but think that based on that biographical sketch, that the young man was somewhere on the spectrum. I also noticed that he had certain "ritualized" behaviors each time before he would spell the word. I don't know if anyone else picked this up.

Steph said...

ROFLMAO! Thank the heavens I'm not the only parent becoming autistic by association! I was beginning to think I was a freak of nature. But if you're doing it too, it must be perfectly normal. =]

Anonymous said...

ha! i thought i was the only one that happened to!

MOM-NOS said...

Alexander's Daddy, there were actually a couple of participants who set off my "autism radar."

And speaking of "EXIT," when Bud was first using words and was exclusively echolalic we would frequently be places (like school, or a store, or church) and he would say "Are you sure you want to quit the school?" or "Are you sure you want to quit the store?" or "Are you sure you want to quit the church?" After a while I realized that it was a script from a computer game in which you click "EXIT" to quit and the game asked "Are you sure you want to quit the game?" As it turned out, "Are you sure you want to quit the store?" was just Bud-speak for "Oh, look! It's an EXIT sign!"

Anonymous said...

Some years ago you got me stuck on the word "penguin." It remains one of my favorite words.





Penguin. Awesome word. (I'm also quite fond of the critters themselves.) :-)

- Bud's echolalic uncle Peng-win.

Wade Rankin said...

Oh great. Now I can't get that %#*& word out of my head.

Tara said...

Oh no, not another new word!! I'm still saying babaganoush all the time from one of your earlier posts!! I love that word! I am also saying poopypants entirely too much these days. Was poopypants a direct result of too much babaganoush??

Anonymous said...

Thank you; I didn't know other people did this.

mommy~dearest said...

I'm partial to pudibund. It's a fun one.

And podagra. "A painful condition of the big toe caused by gout". This is a great word because of the added bonus of the word gout in the definition!


Anonymous said...

Okay - here's a confession...for years, my ADHD son has focused on a "fun" word (or two) in his daily vocabulary....yes - there is a wee bit of "compulsivity" in his life as well. Usually, these words come and go over the months, and have never been embraced by the family as a whole. However, three years ago he discovered "mazel tov!" (Yes, the exclamation point belongs there.) This expression has become a family mantra. After years of carrying the guilt of my childhood faith, and having let it evolve into one that I can live and breathe - it was a shock and a joy to have this Hebrew term enter our home. I am thankful that words like heinewhatzit haven't yet been the chosen ones. I'm thankful that he's brought this expression of happiness and good cheer home. I'm thankful for those children who still question... for example the usefulness of winning a contest - instead of following a passion (as the Bee winner expressed), I'm thankful for insights, belly laughs, and chocolate ice cream. So, make your morning mantra something filled with explosive joy...MAZEL TOV!

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha it is now the 2008 spelling bee and all I could think of was heiligenschein so I had to google to see if anyone else had seen this, we say it all the time at home.