the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Spelling Bee


(note: on waking up this morning, I’ve decided to delete this post, but since I know deleting it is useless since it is already on Bloglines and Google Reader, I might as well just keep it up and ask you to IMAGINE it deleted. So, do not read this post, especially you Mom, who I know will hate it and get all worried. Thank you for your cooperation.)

A boy steps to the microphone.

“The word is “depression.””






“Depression is sadness, gloom, emotional withdrawl, the feeling of not wanting to play with yourself, but eating a lot of carb-heavy bagels.”

“What is the etymology?”

“Middle English from Latin.”

“Does the “De-” come from the root meaning “without” or “less?””

“I don’t see anything here.”




“Di-preshuhn. You have thirty seconds.”

“May I have a sentence please.”

“Neil, feeling cranky, tired, and crying during “Do You Think You Can Dance?.” thought he might be in the midst of a depression.”



“Depression. D-E-P-R-E-T-I-O-N”


“I’m sorry. Depression. D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-O-N”

“Aw, shit!”

“Thank you.”

“Eh, you know what — f**k this stupid competition. As if spelling well is going to make any of us happy in the future when we grow up. I know what’s going to happen. We’re all going to become snot-ass English majors and end up unemployed, and the only time we’ll spell any of these words is when we’re in a bar trying to impress some chick from Vassar with our so-called knowledge, and maybe she’ll laugh, but then, she’ll end up giving a blowjob to our old college buddy in his BMW on the way home, because he’s now a big contract lawyer with Exxon, even though he can’t spell his own mother’s name, which is Kate.”

“Uh, thank you again…”

“I could become a lawyer with my degree, but who the hell wants to be a lawyer? But I guess things could even be worse. I could end up marrying a lawyer! Or I could end up writing a blog where I kvetch about my life and how everything went downhill after the spelling bee. And you know what the irony would be? The blog application has a f**king spell checker, so I don’t even need to KNOW how to spell anything!”

“Next please…”

“Depression? You want to talk about depression? Well, I’m DEPRESED!!!!”


(Truth quotient, 43% — she wasn’t from Vassar)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:   The Joy of 666  (a personal favorite!  And also about spelling!)


  1. better safe than sorry

    here’s one for you P A X I L

  2. You can call me, 'Sir'

    Funny post this morning, Neil. You had me at BMW Vassar blow job.

  3. Bre

    Less than I want to be, but when you combine the “authoring journal articles” stipend with my actual job I’m doing fairly OK. :-p

  4. Neil

    Oh no, my mother is going to call soon all worried. This is not really about me, Mom. It is just a piece of writing. Well, I am a little down, but not for any reason having to do with being an English major. It was very late when I wrote this. Maybe I’ll take it down when Sophia wakes up.

  5. Jennifer

    I had a double major, history and english, so they cancelled each other out, leaving me unfit for anything but blogging!!

  6. Rhea

    I watched the spelling bee on TV the other night. I hate how they ask the same questions over and over again: “Part of speech?” “Etymology?” “Part of speech?”

  7. Eileen Dover

    Too late. I already read it.

    If I were your mother, I would already be worried about your talking penis.

  8. Finn

    Guys with BMWs have small penises. They do! That’s why they have the BMWs.

    Have some more bagels. Carbs lift your mood. Or go get a blowjob, but not from a Vassar girl. Go for one from a public university. Everyone knows we’re sluts.

  9. Marilyn

    How do you talk to your son about his talking penis? I think most moms would avoid that subject.

    I hope you get to feeling better Neil.

  10. Not Fainthearted

    Finn has some very positive suggestions. All I could think was “oh honey, we’re here with you.” {{{{hugs}}}} but that’s probably too mushy and not funny/witty/English Majory to put here. But since I’m feeling kind of the same way as the protagonist in your story, (who is NOT you, Neilochka; we’re all clear on that.) it’s all I’ve got.

  11. Pearl

    Neil, I also have a degree in English…with a minor in Jewish Studies. How far in life does that get anyone? I ended up copy editing Christian romance novels! Go figure…

  12. Neil

    My mother is all for being happy, and if her son’s penis talks to him, more power to it! But she doesn’t like to hear negative stuff. Mother + Jewish = a lot of worrying.

  13. CiCi

    I’m with better safe than sorry Neil. Go see your doctor, then go to the beach. Some sun, and some sound sleep, can sometimes work wonders.

    Also, try a snowball and/or some Cheetos. It’s hard to stay down in the dumps when you realize just how silly you look with a blu/green/etc. stained tongue and orange fingers.

  14. psychomom

    I didn’t really need to learn all that trigonometry either, the computer does it all for me.

    These days I use the premenopausal excuse for my craziness. That should be good for another 10 years then I’ll switch to senility.

  15. sandra

    Intro = fabulous. I sometimes get the urge to call people and tell them I’m ignoring them; this was the online equivalent(ish), I think.

  16. V-Grrrl

    It will be easier for me to blog about depression since you blogged first.

    See, that “You show me yours, I’ll show you mine” mentality still works!

  17. Non-Highlighted Heather

    I know. It sounds so cliche’. I don’t like talking about it unless I’m with someone who I’m confident will understand. But one of the most cathartic things I ever did for myself was to say it out loud. And if people think it’s cliche’, then fuck ’em, they’re not worth the time.


  18. question girl


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