A Lost Art

(Not exactly grammar, but a similar issue.)


Spelling–a lost art. All I have to do is go to any message board out there in cyberspace to see the state of the general public’s spelling. It’s pretty scary.

Yesterday I went to a spelling bee that my 11 year-old friend was in. I was excited because the fact that there was actually a spelling bee meant that at least in this one school, they are actually teaching spelling. Prior to now, I’d had my doubts.

Hard to see any concrete evidence that adults can remember any spelling they theoretically learned back when they were in school, as I know it was routinely taught back then, so I’m wondering if adults can get permission to go back and re-enlist in a spelling course in elementary school. The need is great.

The competition I saw yesterday was for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, so 10-12 year-olds. The list of words they had been given to study was formidable. Many were words no one has ever heard of, leave alone uses. I thought that was fairly pointless. What about the words that the masses use every day that adults can never seem to get right when it comes to spelling them?

I think there should be spelling bees for adults–with big cash prizes. I’m sure that’s the only way to inspire and motivate. How about a Deal or No Deal TV program for spelling–a contest where contestants win because they know how to spell, rather than because they just get lucky at a guessing game. And it could just be everyday words, no need for the exotic to make it challenging among today’s common man (or woman).

So many everyday words get butchered every day–not only on internet message boards, but on websites, in printed newspapers and newsletters, and in public signage everywhere. Open your eyes and think as you read. You’ll see how right I am. Your going to be amazed…see what I mean? That one is everywhere.

Some of the funniest spelling mistakes are found on online dating sites–people who, one assumes, are trying to make a good impression, but instead, are just making thinking people laugh. (Emphasis on thinking.) And that’s good too, but obviously not the intention.

A man in Texas has had me laughing for three years. He’s still looking for “a woman with a vanity.” `Now, I know that’s not exactly a spelling issue, but one of word usage, but I’m so tempted to subscribe to this dating site just so I can e-mail this long-suffering soul to let him know that a vanity can certainly be found on eBay, thereby eliminating the need for searching for a woman with one.

But back to the spelling. One man said he never “put on heirs”…which, I suppose is a good thing too, especially considering how heavy, to say nothing of cumbersome, carrying a group of them around could be.

A particularly attention-getting invitation was made by several men who implored women to “please bare with me”…intentional, Freudian slip, or just bad spelling? Oh, I know. These guys must belong to a nudist colony.

One guy professed–or was it confessed?–to having great carma–he never said if it was a Mercedes, Ferrari, or just a BMW.

Another said he keeps his tux under rap…would that be as in rap music?

And there were a number of men who were desperately, it seems, searching for their sole mates, leaving us to wonder if it was a bottom of a shoe or a kind of fish that was the object of their search.

Several wanted to loose weight…I’m not quite sure how that would be done–how do you make fat loose?–and that assumes that it’s started out tight, but have you ever seen tight fat? That’s another scary thought.

From the man who liked to walk threw flee markets to the one who claimed to be have a great since of humor and the one who said he had concord the world, I would like to like to invite them all to an online spelling class. My 11 year-old friend, who placed third in the spelling bee yesterday, will be the teacher. She is more than qualified.

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