Jack of All Trades, Master of None

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

Last Updated: January 16, 2021

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The Scintilla Project Logo

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

An image from The Spelling Bee of Canada's website asking

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

By Casey E. Palmer

Husband. Father. Storyteller. Calling the Great White North his home, Casey Palmer the Canadian Dad spend his free time in pursuit of the greatest content possible. Thousand-word blog posts? Snapshots from life? Sketches and podcasts and more—he's more than just a dad blogger; he's working to change what's expected of the parenting creators of the world. It's about so much more than just our kids. When Casey's not creating, he's busy parenting, adventuring, trying to be a good husband and making the most of his life! Casey lives in Toronto, Ontario.


  1. HA!
    Word Pet Peeves – When people say things like:
    “Innocent by Standard”… AAAARG TableFlip. It’s “Innocent Bystander”

    Ermagherd – I’m getting itchy thinking about stuff like that. How do you control it? HAOW??? See what I did there with the intentionally misspelled words?

    1. HA! I’ve long-since decided to come to peace with all the madness that comes from people and their horrid misuse of the English language, and simply remind myself that I know what I’M doing.

      If I can continue to keep up a standard, the rest of the world will EVENTUALLY notice.

      Or so I hope.

      P.S. I have NEVER seen “Innocent By Standard” before. That’s HORRIBLE.

      1. OH YA! That and and many others…
        My friend Joe for example, won’t stop butchering the word sandwich and continues to say “Sangwich”. I can’t correct him anymore. I’m pretty sure he does it on purpose now.

        So many word misuse peeves to mention… so little time.
        *Breaking out Into Hives*

  2. “…my days of correcting friends when they brutalize a word’s spelling or meaning may be all but done…” NEVER. Spelling and grammar for life.

  3. This is quite impressive and you’ll be happy to know that I am total grammar and spelling nerd 🙂 there is something to be said for someone who can form a proper sentence with correct spelling!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, San 🙂 It surprises me less and less that others who enjoy writing make sure to bring their A-game in grammar and spelling — they just seem to go together!

      Hopefully I can keep continuing to do so for years to come 😀

  4. Now this is a cool talent! And you even have a trophy to show for it! What an awesome story… I was always the kid who came in second or third in spelling bees… but debate and anything on stage… I was on it! Great Scintilla Reading!

    1. Thanks so much 🙂 It was an interesting moment of life — competing for private school, competing for spelling bees… I don’t know. Despite the parental expectations, it felt a lot simpler in its own way.

      I definitely loved being on stage… and still do 🙂 Sounds like we’d have a lot to chat about 😀

  5. I love that you’re still salty over perusal.

    Poker players have this belief that no one remembers the big scores of their career but everyone can remember with remarkable accuracy the worst bad beats. Weird how the mind clings to 1 or 2 negative memories and struggles to remember any number of the sea of positive memories.

    1. Welcome to the big secret of why humanity will never be happy — we’re inherently miserable beings, always striving for more than we currently have. It’s the knowledge that we know it was in our ability to do better that drives us mad.

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