I have witnessed the fall of civilized society, and it is in the form of competitive spelling bees.
They are fucking loco.
A Child whose intelligence has far outgrown his wisdom (a dangerous combination) steps up to a microphone. He sweats and fidgets, taking deep, asthma breaths into his lungs.
The mike crackles with feedback.
The voice of God speaks: "Your word…is Hylocynth."
The Child's eyes go dim. "Can I have the root?"
God says of course of course, "the root is Latin, French, German, and English."
The Child mutters dammit under his runny nose. "Can you use it in a sentence please?"
God says certainly, "The Child lost the spelling bee because Hylocynth is a hard word to spell."
The Child says: "Shit"
Then he asks, "Can I have a definition?"
God says, "An aquatic marmot."
"No not really no."
"Okay", says the Child.
A bell rings and the child plunges into a circle of hell just below the pedophiles. Awkward.
God says, "Next."
The Children all have names that only a spelling bee champion could. Shlkdcvnykha. Xaieioeyh. Consonants that could crack teeth and vowels that would open wounds.
The parents don't seem to mind their Child's destructive determination.
Mary and David Dufrane love their child's precocious spelling proclivities.
"We let Jimmy do this because it makes him happy," she says, smile stale on her face, "and because it allows us to live out our own fantasies through him, as the once livid dreams of inspired youth have evaporated from our souls, leaving us dry and thirsty for validation. His success grants us this illusion of a dignified life."
David braces tighter against Mary's shoulder, as if it were the edge of a life boat, "Though we breathe, consume, and survive, we are dead inside. We died a long time ago. A long time…" David's eyes drift away. He has the look of a man that knows he has sunk too far from the surface to come up for air, drowning with contemptible complacency.
Jimmy steps up to the microphone, his glasses barely covering his naiveté.
God tightens his collar, "Your word…" Pages are flipped and numbers are checked, "is lilocaitenhe."
And the Child says: Shit.