Are You Smarter Than an Eighth Grader? | QC After Dark

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Are You Smarter Than an Eighth Grader?

A buzzed spelling bee could help you figure it out

Posted By on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Two Saturdays ago, the boyfriend and I decided to go to Petra's Bar in Plaza Midwood for Su Casa. If you didn't catch one of my past articles on the event, search Creative Loafing's website for the tag line, "The monthly oasis for Charlotte's culturally starved." What does it look like, you may ask? Afrobeats, natural hair and chocolatey goodness! If diversity is something you're missing in the Q.C., this event, which takes place on the last Saturday of every month, is one you won't want to miss.

After a trip to the bathroom, the boyfriend turns to me and says, "They have a buzzed spelling bee here. There's one next Tuesday." And that was all I needed to hear.

What most people don't know about me is that I'm a total nerd. I loved multiplication shootout and spelling bees in elementary and middle school. So you can imagine how my excitement must have been overflowing as I made plans for "goin' up on a Tuesday" knowing I would have to go to work the next day.

On Tuesday morning, March 28, I started my recruiting of coworkers. "Would you be down to go to a drunken spelling bee?" I asked. One of them laughed when I showed her the flier.

"So what?," she said. "They're going to be like, 'Spell hippopotamus?' OK, H-I-P-P...hip, hop, otamus...hmm." As soon as she realized she may not be able to spell the word, she bought in.

So we made plans to go to The Corner Pub for $3 wine night and then migrate over to Petra's for signups between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

I ended up having to get my hair done, so when the boyfriend and I arrived, two of my coworkers were sitting there "buzzed" as can be with huge smiles on their faces. The reason for the smiles?

They'd only signed me up for the spelling bee and my fun fact was, "I bring cat food with me to bars." Great. I'd picked up some food for my cat and left it at Corner Pub; they had to bring it with them to Petra's, and now I was the "cat lady." Sigh. I rushed to the bar to grab liquid courage in the form of an RBV before the competition began.

I scanned the crowd. I've never been so comfortable bringing my backpack and wearing my thick-prescription glasses. Why? It seemed like everyone was wearing glasses. Call us hipsters or nerds, I didn't care, I'd found my eighth-grade class all over again.

Before getting started, the "sultry" male host laid out the rules of engagement. If for any reason, a speller couldn't spell a word, they had three lifelines they could use: chug a drink, spell an easier word backward or a secret option. (Forgive me if those are incorrect, I did my best to take thorough notes, but in my defense, I had to establish a "buzz" in order to participate. Wink, wink.)

My first word: meanwhile. I knew I had this one, so my friends encouraged me to ask for the definition and origin. This was most definitely commonplace for the first round, as spellers used the opportunity to "own the stage." I kept asking myself, "Is this a spelling bee or stand-up?" Everyone and their mama ended up taking five minutes to spell their words. Nevertheless, I walked away victorious after the first round. What'd I get for my efforts? A tall-boy PBR that I would later regret.

After every participant took their first turn, there was a "redemption round" in which those who'd been kicked out could try again to restore their honor. The second round began, and I could feel myself going to "buzz city."

I don't even know what my second word was, so I went for a lifeline. Of course, I didn't think about any of the lifelines except for chug a drink. Yeah, I had three quarters of a tall boy left and had to chug the entire thing.

The crowd watched in uncomfortable amusement, wondering if I'd vom with every burp. [Spoiler alert, I didn't. However, by the third round, when I received either "'subjugation" or "crescendo," I don't think I could've even spelled my name.]

What did I learn? I spelled much better in the eighth grade, when I couldn't consume alcohol. Oh, and get this: Someone got the word "hippopotamus!" Thank goodness it wasn't me. Be on the lookout for the next Buzzed Spelling Bee at Petra's scheduled for April 25! It most definitely is a blast from the past.

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