Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm also pretty dumb at spelling bees

Camille called to say the National Geography Bee was on so naturally I turned right over and picked it up about half way through and felt pretty good about myself when the first question I heard was, "The group of islands northwest of Madagascar that has these types of lemurs." Comoros!*  Nailed it.  The remaining 8 kids all got it right too, although one kid scratched out Seychelles before writing the correct answer down.  Rookie mistake.  Everyone knows Seychelles is north of Madagascar, not northwest.

But just as I started to think, "Why don't you challenge these kids a little, Alex Trebek," the next 30 or so questions turned out to be the type of geography questions even google couldn't answer.  Basically you have to be a super computer with an atlas to know the type of geographical minutiea that these kids were spouting off.  Or a 13 year old Indian boy.  (Poor Anthony Cheng was the last holdout for a name you could pronounce.)  I spent the rest of the show staring slack-jawed at the TV, trying to remember exactly what I had done with my squandered youth, other than reading a lot of Babysitters Club books.  I managed to eke out a correct guess on a later question but only because after 5 clues were given, and all the contestants had written their answers down, I figured it had to be the capital of one of the -stans.  Uzbekistan in this case ("The cash is under the tent in Tashkent, Uzbekistan")  It was a lucky guess.  At one point I said out loud, "These kids are insane! I want to be just like them!"  And I do.  Suddenly I want to pull out every map I own and start memorizing the location and shape of obsure bodies of water.

My questions is, what do you do with yourself when you haven't even entered high school and you have already learned everything there is to know about every single place on the planet?  The solar system is vast  but sparse.  Maybe the universe?  That's pretty big.  Maybe there will be a bee for that in the near future.  I hope Trebek hosts it.  Even though I think he'd be a lot more credible if he grew back his mustache. 

*Capital:  Moroni.  For reals.


Rach said...

I knew a kid just like those ones on that bee. He spent recess studying the encyclopedias in the library and stared at the globe for hours. He beat me out at the regional spelling bee and ended up winning state. I felt okay about the whole thing, because I spent my recesses with my friends planning our marriage to Davy Jones.

Unknown said...

I won my school's Geography Bee in 8th grade, then bombed the test to go on to state.

Anonymous said...

You move on to that other great mystery of the universe....women.