Sunday, October 21, 2018

Alas, poor Clevis, I knew him well....

by GreatMinds (writer), Huntsville, Alabama, May 31, 2007

Samir Patel, the perennial contestant and favorite in the National Spelling Bee, was eliminated from competition today when he misspelled the word "clevis" as c-l-e-v-i-c-e. Patel has vied for the top speller title more times than Gus Hall ran for President for the Communist Party USA.

As I heard the word called out while driving this morning and listening to coverage of Patel's downfall, I spelled it correctly. I am 40 years old and I have used a few clevises in my day (or, is that clevii?), and so I knew what a clevis was and how to spell it. Patel, who probably has not had his first outbreack of a-c-n-e yet, called his mistake "stupid" and admitted that the correct spelling was, indeed, his first impression, but that he outsmarted himself. The young man will probably never have to personally employ a clevis.

Then, it occurred to me that the South is covered in proper Clevises. Clevis Jones is an Atlanta astronomy photographer. Clevis Parker is a doctor in Louisiana. Clevis Don Carter is a graduate of Union College in Union, Kentucky, and a member of its alumni hall of fame. Another Kentuckian, Clevis Swift, was a Tennessee resident farmer in the mid-1800's. We Southerners have a long history with Clevises and clevises. Had some old boy from Macon or Monroeville been up there and was shown a clevis, he probably could have told the judges what it was, and perhaps could have spelled it.

Next year, Scripps-Howard and ESPN should introduce the "Show and Spell" category to the National Spelling Bee. Add a real NASCAR element to it. Hand Samir Patel a clevis and have him identify it. Could you imagine?


"Rankin's Salvage Autos on U.S. 11 near Ooltewah, Tennessee, official Salvage Yard of the Scripps-Howard/ESPN National Spelling Bee."

"Where was it before then?"

"Oh, hell, son, it was holding up a motor from a '74 Vega."

"And, before that?"

"Are you gonna spell that thing or run a credit check on it?"

"Clevis. C-L-E-V-I-S Clevis."

"Congratulations, son, you're through to the next round. Alright, honey, step on up here. Roy, can you grab that, uh, yeah, and help him drag that over here Sonny... Alright, sweetie, take your 'Buck Knife Stab At It', Buck Knives, the official pocket knife of the Scripps-Howard/ESPN National Spelling Bee, found at fine cutlery shops and discount stores everywhere."

"I think it just wiggled."

"That's just its nerves, honey. Now, go ahead."

About the Writer

GreatMinds is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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