I’ve twice now judged Trivia Mafia’s Drinkin’ Spelling Bee. It happens every first and third Saturday at Northeast’s 331 Club. The first time I went to the Drinkin’ Spelling Bee, I met @simmerdesigns and bit his pastrami (Reuben, $7.50). I’d apparently met him once before but I didn’t actually remember it. I recall many of us wearing red, white, and blue so it must have been on the Fourth of July, 2010.
You may ask what first brought me to the Drinkin’ Spelling Bee. I was there to judge. Chuck Terhark of Trivia Mafia e-mailed me to ask if I was interested in being a judge. Well, I love judging others, so I stepped up to the plate and had an absolutely fantastic time. I have attended many a bee now and judged my second last month, with @simmerdesigns, reigning champ, judging at my side (and letting me bite his pastrami as is now a tradition).
This past weekend I attended another bee to witness @lahlo and @simmerdesigns having a “Champion-off,” won by the latter of the two competitors. The Reversal of Fortune Hammer was used by both of them to force the other to spell a word backwards. The bee even involved an underwear round where for each person who spelled a word wrong, they could take off their pants (or shirt, or something) to reveal their drawers, and could spell another word to stay in the bee. I was absolutely shocked by how few were willing to expose their skivvies to stay in the game. I, of course, had to get a closer spot to witness the round and to cheer at a certain friend to take her pants off (well, skirt, but never mind, she didn’t anyway).
Host Sean McPherson never lets the bee get boring, and I even let him get away with calling me “Bacon Tits” when I judge. The various and sundry guest judges are usually a selection of entertaining characters and there’s always a DJ (currently @anderOTHER). The way the bee works is you sign up before 7 p.m. (or before the first round ends), pay $6 and get a drink ticket (for a klassy PBR!), and with each word you spell correctly, you get another drink ticket and a chance at spelling in the next round. You can ask for a sentence, a definition, the origin of the word, and a pronunciation by another judge. Be creative and ask for the word to be used in a limerick.
One of my favorite bee nights was when my parents were visiting and I entered my mom in the bee. She spelled and I drank her beers. Sean got a kick out of calling her “Bacon Tits’ Mom” and she got some well-deserved cheers of support from the crowd. However, without the liquid courage (she’s not a beer drinker) she got caught up on the number of L’s in “beryllium” and was out in maybe the third round. I don’t think that’s the last time you’ll see her at the bee—or me for that matter. Maybe someday I will even take a chance at spelling! Especially if I get to take my pants off on stage.
The bee continues to be one of my favorite Saturday night events. It’s always a great crowd, including some bee regulars—and, if I’m lucky, a bite of pastrami.
Photo by Chuck Olsen (Creative Commons)
331 13th Ave. N.E.
331 13th Ave. N.E.