Spelling Bee FAIL

23 years ago I was a scrawny 6th grader with bald armpits, a big nose, and a squeaky high voice.

I signed up for the spelling bee that year and I knew my word list well. I knew vacuum had one ‘c’, I knew rhythm had no traditional vowels, and I knew the longest word they could test us on was electroencephalograph.

The day of the bee came, and before I knew it I was standing in front of the microphone for my word.

“Diphthong,” the moderator said.

“Diphthong,” I stuttered, “D-I-P-T-H-O-N-G. Diphthong.”


I was confused. I thought I had spelled it correctly. Why the heck is there another ‘h’ in that word?

Fast forward 23 years to this past weekend at the Annual Heritage Days celebration.

I was 4th in line for the 16 and older spelling bee, awaiting my turn. The first 2 words were easy: “appellate” and “bazaar”. I would have nailed both, but the contestants got them wrong. The next word, “carafe” was a tough one. I couldn’t remember if there was one ‘f’ or two. The woman in front of me spelled it ‘karaf’. Good grief.

Then it was my turn. I stepped up to the mic and THIS is what happened.

(you’ll need to turn your volume WAY up because the volume is low.)

A couple things to note:

1. Did you catch the Amish Volleyball happening in the background? Classic.

2. Did you catch my word? It was “diphtheria”, and ONCE AGAIN, I missed the first ‘h’!

3. If you listen closely, the moderator misspells the word without the last ‘i’ when he repeats it back. maybe i should protest?

4. Two decades later and I still hadn’t heard my lesson. Diphthong and Diphtheria, 23 years apart. What are the stinking chances?

5. Next year that spelling bee is MINE.

(thanks for taking the video, Than)