Mr. Jones was the reader at the spelling bee. He said, "Your word is chili," when I stood center stage. Lifting my mouth to the microphone, I enunciated each letter clearly, “Chili . . .C – H – I – L – I . . . chili.” I smiled, proud to have remembered that there was only one “L” in chili. “That is incorrect,” Mr. Jones intoned, “C – H – I – L – L – Y, is what we were looking for, as in the air temperature was chilly or cool.”
My disappointment in failing was overshadowed by impulsivity’s shame for instantly propelling me with conviction into spelling the wrong word. The wrong word! Because I did not ask for usage, I blew the spelling bee on a word that could be spelled simply. “Think before you speak,” sounds good in theory, but in the pre-ritalin days of my fifth grade world answers did not sit. As quickly as they were thought, they were blurted into being.