I’m a good speller. I’m going to misspell something in this post, like an ass, as Karmic punishment for beginning a tale by lauding myself an expert speller. It’s just something I’m good at. I spent most of my elementary school years whiled away with VC Andrews books, I mean The Babysitters Club if my mother is reading this. I was also one of those dweeby kids who loved diaries and stationary sets. Had Santa presented me with the choice between a flashy bicycle or a set of pretty pieces of paper with matching sharpened pencils, I would have chosen the latter and been writing my thank-you note to him on that very paper a few moments later.
But don’t go jumping to conclusions. Just because I had my nose in a book and like writing, I’m no rocket scientist when it comes to solving some of life’s more complex issues, like geometry. Or word puzzles. Or how to work a Garmin. Despite my love of words, I’m also tragically average at crossword puzzles and Scrabble.
My husband, on the other hand, is my foil. G solves mathematical puzzles for fun. He reads dense law and tax code that makes me want to start tying a noose and looking for a stool. He also rocks Scrabble and crossword puzzles, although often with BS maneuvers like the word ‘jo’, which to me is a cheap attempt at spelling a nickname for coffee. To him, and to Webster’s, it is a “Spanish Lover,” which is also worth like 40,000 Scrabble points. He also can remember whether you’re supposed to run in a diagonal, play dead, or climb a tree when being chased by a lion, a bear, or an alligator. I would be doing all three, and with no impressive speed, until I received the jaws of death to the back.
Despite all these virtues, he is a terrible speller. He just can’t visualize words before they need to be typed or written. I will hear things like, “How do you spell ‘Sincerely’?” three times a week. I don’t usually wield my power to spell better than he for evil.
That is…until recently.
We had been moving bulky waste, as it’s known, to the curb for collection by the Township. But we had way more articles of waste than a 12 pack and a $20 were going to compel two trash men to take. So we began putting items out in advance of the collection day in hopes that scavengers (they really were more like buzzards in this case) would haul them away. I actually watched a man drive 100 feet past our curb, reverse the entire distance, to take…a red bucket. I’d been putting crap out there for days without any problem.
Then G moved to the curb a filing cabinet that had been in our barn since 1940. Literally. It was ugly and heavy. It looked exactly like the kind of filing cabinet you see in a detective’s office in old movies. It sat there. And it sat there. So, in typical form, the filing cabinet’s lack of desirability became MY problem. G started pestering me to put a FREE sign out there so that ‘people will know it’s free.’ As if someone might knock on the door and offer us cash for the relic. I was having one of those days with the kids where I could barely take a sip of water, so digging out a piece of cardboard and a Sharpee from a house that had been 95% packed into boxes was not high on my priority list. By the evening, G was so annoyed that I had not made his sign that he stormed into the house and declared loudly, “How hard is it to put a few letters on paper, Erin?? I’ve asked you 90 flipping times to do one thing while I’m…(blah blah, you get it).”
He disappears back out the front door with his arts and craft items only to peek his head in one minute later.
“Is this how you spell FREE?” he asks while holding up his sign. “Something looks funny.”
It was spelled correctly. But I was feeling burned.
“No, that first E should be an I.”
Ha ha ha. At least we gave the neighbors one last thing to talk about. Or people thought we were storing a new form of Brie in our roadside filing cabinet.
(What powers do you yield for evil?)
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