We New Jerseyans flick the dopey jokes off like ladybugs, but this one stings like biting flies at the beach: When the National Spelling Bee’s semi-finals begin this morning in Washington D.C., none of the four dozen kids left will be from the Kindergarten State.
The fates of three of our original six entrants were sealed Thursday when they couldn’t make it through a 50-word, first-round test. They did, apparently, know to spell “subpoena.”
The bee began with 273 little brainiacs, of whom 48 moved on, leaving the rest flummoxed but philosophical in their khaki flood pants, striped shirts and oversized moon rims. Better luck next time, I guess.
It’s not that we aren’t proud. It’s just that… well… sometimes a bit more rides on a particular horse — and in Jersey, that stake always centers on feats of intelligence, even if this competition is on ESPN.
The kids themselves stood to pull down more than $40,000 for a few hours’ work — kinda like a local building inspector — at the 83rd Scripps National Spelling Bee. But after aceing “salaam,” “franglais” and “appestat,” it was all declivitous from there.Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor
You want a real kick in the family jewels? For 21 of the original entrants, English wasn’t even their first language. (I know: You can say that about most of the mooks in Seaside.)
I wonder if our forefathers and foremothers could have ever foreseen all this when little Mr. Smarty Pants Noah Webster wrote his book. Truth is: Webster wanted assimilation, and what better way than through a common language?
So let’s give these kids this year a shout out and start preparing for next year. That gives us plenty of time to raise enough cash to slip to one of the judges.
After all, if there’s one word we all know how to spell around here, it’s “corrupt.”
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