I practiced for the school spelling bee for weeks in the fifth grade, and when the big day came, I spelled my way to safety through a dozen rounds. Eventually it was down to me and one other kid, standing in the front of the auditorium while the whole school sat and watched. My opponent had just flubbed a word, and if I spelled the next one correctly, I’d win the whole thing. A kindergartner in the front row held her breath while I walked up to the microphone.
“Corral,” I said. “C-O-R-R-A-L. Corral.”