How I Lost a Monthly Spelling Bee for Adults

I learned my lesson: Caca has no place in cacophony.

In sixth grade I experienced one of the highest highs of my nerdy, young life when I won my middle school spelling bee. And one of the lowest lows, too, when I was knocked out of the state competition in the very first round. Evidently, bleach isn’t spelled like leech. Whoops.

So when I learned that Lost Valley – Milwaukee’s best, and only, cider bar – puts on a (low stakes, more comedic than competitive) spelling bee on the third Thursday of every month, I had to check it out. Maybe it’d give me a chance to redeem myself.

The bee began well enough. The hosts — comedians James Boland and Michelle Gilliam — awarded me 1,000 extra points for drinking cider while I took my turn. And I managed to correctly spell most of the words that Boland rattled off during an “accent” round despite the fact that he insisted on speaking with a thick Australian accent that made words like buoy sound a lot like boy.

Going into the final round, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. But all the confidence – or cider I’d guzzled – must have gone to my head because I managed to misspell the last word I was given. As it turns out, caca has no place in cacophony, but it does describe my performance that night. Whoops again.

“Adult Spelling Bee” appears in the September 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.