Thursday, March 15, 2007


I don't usually editorialize over stories that I write for The Joplin Globe. But I'm impressed as all get out over these kids.

They are fourth- through sixth-graders, and they were spelling words I have never heard of. And I consider myself one of the more geeky, vocabulary-loving types. But sagathy? Coacervate? Picotee? Ecchymosis? Destrudo? I had no idea these words existed.

If you read the story, you saw the sidebar which gave some definitions of the words. But several of those words weren't even in our abridged Webster's dictionaries. Not even Merriam-Webster's Web site had them, without registering and paying for an upgraded membership. To find the definitions, I had to refer to the Globe's unabridged dictionary.

We keep it in a dungeon in the basement, right past the sand volleyball courts and Jeremiah Tucker Memorial Music Library. The unabridged dictionary is guarded by gargoyles, ninjas and a series of intricate traps. I successfully got past the gargoyles by using a creative combination of glass cleaner and tent stakes. The ninjas nicked me a few times with their throwing stars, but I slipped past them (thank goodness I wore the Doc Martens instead of the Rockbridges). I placed the talisman on the stake at exactly 4:27, but I had forgotten that the series of ancient traps had not been corrected for the proper Daylight Savings Time. Fortunately, Scott Meeker chose that exact time to surprise the ninjas and save me. He rigged an avalanche of debris (mostly movie press kits) that pushed the ninjas into the boiling lake of lava below. We got the definitions, closed the dictionary and dashed off before we got flattened by the huge, strangely-spherical-for-a-boulder boulder and went over to the Globe's smoothie bar.

All in a day's work for a reporter, I guess. Funny thing, though: I never knew the Globe had a sand volleyball court.

ANYWAY... congratulations to the participants in this year's Joplin Globe Spelling Bee.


"Destrudo" sounds like some curse you'd hear in the Harry Potter books. "Flipendo! Expelliarmus! DESTRUDO!!!" :) --Nikki
I wish I could take more credit for this ... in all honesty, knocking over the giant stack of press kits was an accident, plain and simple. It happened when I lost my balance after spiking the ball during a sand volleyball game against the press operators. Those boys play dirty. Glad it worked out well for you, though. And now that you mention it, that boulder was pretty spherical.
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