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Rebecca Sealfon

Back in 1997, purely by chance, I caught the National Spelling Bee on ESPN. It was one of the most intense things I had ever seen and every once in a while I think again about Rebecca Sealfon. Watching this child lurching on the edge of total psychotic break down for well over an hour was fascinating, funny, terrifying, and voyeuristically satisfying.

The best part of the spectacle was when Rebecca wins and she gets to speak to the cameras. She says that she wanted to win this year so she could say that there shouldn't be a bee.

I'm still not sure what exactly it is about this neurotic little soul that I'm so attracted to. Partly, it's the catharsis of watching her emotions. There they are! She's ecstatic. She's terrified. She's relieved. She's an open story, but alien at the same time. I almost cried re-watching the spelling of euonym and her little speech today.

The winning word:


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