My badge from the 1996 Spelling Bee of Canada, reading: SPELLING BEE OF CANADA; MISSISSAUGA AREA; PALMER, CASEY; INTERMEDIATE; 97-0678

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

The Scintilla Project Day Five | Find Me at the Spelling Bee

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Last updated on February 11th, 2024 at 09:09 pm


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes


1. What talent do you have that your usual blog readers don’t know about? Talk about a time when you showed it to its best advantage.

— The Scintilla Project Day 5 prompt

When you’ve lived so many lives, is there any talent you have that everybody knows about?

I’m No One Thing

When you try to live life as fully as possible, it’s hard to keep track of who you are. Friend, mentor, TV personality, student, volunteer, cook, banker, bureaucrat, school president, team captain, rapper, sprinter, b-boy, half-back, counsellor, confidant, husband, son, brother, mathlete, writer, artist, deputy prefect, lead singer, sound tech, Christian, winner, graduate, globetrotter, mountaineer, photographer…

It’s an endless list, but at one time or another, these have all been facets of who I am. It’s hard for me to single out one “talent” that readers might not know because everybody knows me in a different context. When it comes down to it (and possibly to the chagrin of those close to me), I’m a pretty open book. I don’t really bother hiding much, and most of what I do has been well-documented in one blog or another over the past decade.

My younger life was fairly unremarkable in Mississauga’s suburbs—I was fairly nerdy, spent my time on piano lessons and homework, spending time watching cartoons and playing video games with my friends when I could. The first 12 years of my life were pretty straightforward, the way I see it.

But, if anything sticks with me from back when I was “yay” high, it’d be my skill at spelling bees.

Casting a Spell

Legend has it than I started counting at 18 months and reading at 2, and once I started, I’d proceed to devour anything in my path like a literary locust. I’ll have to get a photo of it the next time I visit my parents, but one of the sole trophies sitting on the fireplace mantle is my Regional Championship for 1996’s Spelling Bee of Canada.

I remember killing spelling bees for a while at the Canadian National Exhibition in the summers and making it to the Spelling Bee of Canada’s Ontario Championship after that regional win. Still, I’d only get 8th place due to some jacked-up pronunciation of the word “perusal”.

In an era of spellcheckers and “intentional typos” (see LOLcats and 1337-speak), my days of correcting friends when they brutalize a word’s spelling or meaning may be all but done, but I’ll carry my sense of spelling for the rest of my days.

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

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