14samirtries.jpgSo today’s the day, kid. Your whole life, all thirteen years of it, have been leading up to this moment. Just one question:

What’s it like to peak at seven?

Because if you lose this one, that’s going to be your epitaph. You’ll never be able to live it down.


Just ask Freddy Adu, Todd Marinovich, or Ludwig Wittgenstein. Sure, you won the North South Foundation National Spelling Bee at age seven, but that’s like winning the Grey Cup. And let me ask you this, who won this year’s Grey Cup?

My point exactly.

Your rookie year, at age nine, you took home the bronze. Casual observers quickly tapped you the favorite for the 2004 Bee, but hardcore spelling analysts knew there were huge holes in your game. Sure, you finished third. But you lost on “boudin.” Half the cast of Girls Gone Wild: Mardi Gras could probably spell “boudin.” And most of them went to state schools.

You didn’t even need a premature and perhaps unhealthy interest in women’s breasts for “ boudin” to be part of your lexicon. A simple passing curiosity in Anthropology and you would have made yourself familiar with the primary North American ritual for bare mammarian observation. Further familiarity with the customs surrounding said celebration would have inevitably led you to the relevant foodstuffs.

Clearly, Samir, you lack the basic intellectual curiosity necessary to succeed at spelling.

So smart traders in ’04 were shorting you the second the written portion of the Bee was over and you had locked up a seat in the room The good news, you allowed at least two people to retire from your sucking. It couldn’t have been any easier if Clarence Beeks had handed them the crop report himself. Not only hadn’t you corrected your weaknesses but you also showed you couldn’t handle pressure.

Corposant? Waterloo.

With the pressure off you made the podium again in 2005 only to be taken down by “roscian.” Seriously, kid. Where the fuck did you learn to spell. Or rather, where did you learn not to spell?

Because you’re not doing it.

Eremacausis. I bet Greg Norman could spell “eremacausis,” even at Augusta.

So. This is it. Your last shot. Are you going to go down as the Scripps Fran Tarkenton? Or are you going to rewrite your legacy in Elway-esque fashion?

The spot in the HBS class of 2020? The job with McKinsey? An arranged marriage that doesn’t reflect the disappointment you have brought to your parents? It’s all hangs in the balance one last time.

15samirsad.jpgBecause see that picture? That is a picture of parents who feel shame. The fake hug from your mother. And your father, he can’t even acknowledge you. I hope you figure out how to spell in ’07 as well as your dad has learned to do a Stuart Scott impersonation. Otherwise, it’s Booz at best for you, kid. No pressure.

Sorry that your life defining moment comes at such a young age, but if you screw the pooch on this one, you’re pretty much going to have to cure cancer to make up for being the guy that lost the Scipps National Spelling Bee five times.

I’m holding out the possibility that you’ve actually out-geniused all of us, right down to official Bee pronouncer Jacques Bailey—that’s J-Bug to you and me.

Your finishing orders since 2003 have been: 3, 27, 2, 13. If I’ve learned anything from standardized test taking, it’s that the next number in the series is a 1. Have you really set this up, alternating a crawl up the standings with complete choke jobs to keep the competition confused?

I hope so, because without Saryn Hooks in the mix, I’m pulling for you, kid, you devious bitch you. Unfortunately all the future cancer patients of the world are pulling against you.