Someone Needs to Investigate the National Spelling Bee

The National Spelling Bee was once again won by not one but two Indian-American contestants. Yes, for the second Melvin Durai's Humoryear in a row, the world’s most popular spelling competition ended in a tie. The organizers exhausted all the words in the English language, even words borrowed from languages spoken in Latvia, Burundi, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and Harlem, New York.

Dr. Jacques Bailly, the official pronouncer, tried unsuccessfully to stump the two remaining contestants, Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam, with made-up words such as “scherenschnitte,” pyrrhuloxia” and “barackobamaphobia.”

It’s the eighth year in a row (and 13th time in 17 years) that Indian-American contestants have won the National Spelling Bee, but who’s keeping track? It’s really not a big deal, as shown by the news ticker on an Indian broadcast network: “Breaking News: Indian-American Spellers Match Boston Celtics’ Record of Eight Straight Titles.”

In case you were busy and didn’t get a chance to gauge the reaction to the National Spelling Bee on the Internet, let National_Spelling_Bee_Logome give you a taste of what the comments were like on a popular news site.

PatsFan: “A tie? Why did it end in a tie? Shouldn’t they have penalty kicks or something?”

JustSurfing: “Yeah, I hate how they ended it. I was hoping for overtime.”

FunGirl: “They ran out of words. What could they do?”

JustSurfing: “Why not have an overtime period in which they try to spell the names of all the Indian contestants? That would be more challenging.”

Cletus Spuckler: “Every year, I hope an American will win OUR spelling bee, and every year, a freaking Indian wins OUR spelling bee. It’s time to send Americans to India to win their spelling bee.”

FreeThinker: “What a stupid statement, Cletus! It wasn’t ‘a freaking Indian’ who won the spelling bee. It was ‘two freaking Indians.’ There were two of them.”

Cletus Spuckler: “Two of them? Man, I need to stop drinking. I thought I was seeing double.”

BoilOnYourButt: “It’s not enough that one Indian wins. Now it’s two of them. I’m telling you, next year, it’ll be three of them, then four of them. They’re not happy with just one spelling champion every year. I’m sure they all got together and planned this. Someone needs to investigate.”

Cletus Spuckler: “Yeah, the spelling bee is fixed. It doesn’t make sense that Americans aren’t winning. Indians are so corrupt. They’re probably paying off the judges. Did you see that there was an Indian judge this year? Someone needs to check his bank account.”

CricketFan: “You guys are full of sh-t. Stop calling them Indians. They’re not Indians. They’re Americans! They were born in America.”

FreeThinker: “I don’t believe it. Look at their names. Those aren’t American names.”

Cletus Spuckler: “I want to see their birth certificates. They’re probably like Obama – born in another country but pretending to be American.”

BollyGirl: “It wouldn’t matter. The spelling bee isn’t just for Americans. In 1998, a Jamaican won it.”

Cletus Spuckler: “That’s it, then. I’m not watching it anymore – until they let Americans win it again. I’m going to start a petition: Stop letting foreigners into our country who can spell.”

CricketFan: “I don’t know why I read comments on the Internet. It’s like a convention of morons.”

FreeThinker: “I’m not a moron. I have an advanced degree.”

CricketFan: “Oh sure. Advanced degree of brain deterioration.”

RockStar01: “The spelling bee would be more interesting if different kids won it. Not Indians all the time.”

CricketFan: “Stop being racist! It’s not the same kids winning it every year. These are different kids with different personalities.”

RockStar01: “But they look alike. They all look like that annoying kid in my elementary school who sat in the front row and always raised his hand when the teacher asked a question. Their parents look alike too. They have the same clothes, hairstyle, and smug expression that says, ‘We started spelling to our kids when they were in the womb.'”

FunGirl: “Gokul and Vanya are so cute. I wonder if they will get married to each other one day and produce more spelling bee champions.”

BollyGirl: “The name Vanya Venkatachalam has a nice ring to it!”

CricketFan: “What I love about these spelling bee kids is that they’re so dedicated. Instead of playing sports and videogames like so many kids, they spend all their time studying words. They eat, drink and breathe words.”

Cletus Spuckler: “I knew it. They’re not human. They’re breathing words, not oxygen. They’re robots sent from India to take over America. Someone needs to investigate.”

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Hahahhahhaaaa…very funny…..

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