Pride goeth before a fall

Published 10:29 pm Friday, March 6, 2020

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For the Suffolk News-Herald’s Typographical Airers, last year’s Grown-Up Spelling Bee — a fundraiser for the Suffolk Education Foundation — ended in catastrophe.

It was down to the last round. We were up against the ArchiTexts from RRMM Architects. We got a word I had never heard before with a root word I hadn’t seen or thought of since learning about medieval Europe in my school days: “vassalage.”

Now, there’s not a lot that I’m sinfully prideful about, as my talents are few and far between. But spelling might be one of them. Like the pretty girls who know they’re pretty, I’ve always been a good speller, and I’ve always known it.

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Last year, as my reporter, Alex Perry, and I debated over “vassalage,” we were running out of time, and the pressure of the moment and my pride got the better of me. I went with my first guess, with only one S instead of two, and we lost. Alex’s spelling would have been correct, and he still hasn’t let me hear the end of it.

As Proverbs 16:18 tells us, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

This year, we wanted redemption. Alex and I collaborated beforehand on how to work out our spelling differences. Our third teammate, designer Jen Jaqua, isn’t a terrific speller but made some excellent contributions — she not only came up with a timely strategy on when to use our lifelines but also designed and made the rock-paper-scissors costumes that won us the costume contest.

I’m happy to say we were able to correctly spell words like “cuneiform,” “ersatz” and “aberration” to come up with the win this year. The trophy looks good back in our office, once again becoming entangled in the stems and leaves of my pothos plant.

More importantly, though, it’s always fun to support the Suffolk Education Foundation. We strongly believe in the mission of this great organization, which provides a variety of supports to the students and teachers of Suffolk Public Schools. Those include scholarships, grants for special projects, the teacher supply store and many other opportunities.

We look forward to defending our title next year.