1. A long narrow boat that is pointed at both ends and that is moved by a paddle with two blades. – Merriam-Webster1
2. How to make your sixth grade teacher hate you in five easy letters. – The Nut
It was sixth grade science class, and we were studying the ocean.
“Let’s begin the unit with some brainstorming on things we associate with the ocean,” said Ms. Schitt2 brightly, erasing the whiteboard to make room for all our ideas.
We loved brainstorming. Words flooded in from all directions.
Ms. Schitt dutifully wrote each student’s contribution on the board.
I raised my hand.
“Yes, Nutty? Did you have an idea for the word web?”
“I think kayak is spelled wrong, Ms. Schitt.”
She frowned and looked at the board. “K-Y-A-C-K. Looks right to me.”
“But isn’t it K-A-Y-A-K? I remember ’cause it’s a palindrome, it’s the same backwards as it is forwards.”
Ms. Schitt looked relieved and gave a patronizing laugh. “Oh no, that can’t be right. Any more ideas, class?”
Under most circumstances, I would never have made a fuss. I was a quiet child who did everything possible to avoid confrontation. But I had spent my entire young life judging my academic worth via arithmetic problems and spelling tests. I knew this word – hell, I knew what a goddamn palindrome was – and just this once, I was not about to back down.
I didn’t bother raising my hand again. “I’m pretty sure it’s K-A-Y-A-K, Ms. Schitt.”
She froze for a moment, then slowly turned toward me wearing her “I thought we already resolved this” face, which quickly became a full-blown dirty look as another small voice piped up from across the room and said, “I think Nutty’s right. It is K-A-Y-A-K.”
Ms. Schitt shook her head slightly and shifted her gaze to the open window, as if imagining what it would be like to chuck me off the second storey of the building.
“Fine,” she snapped. “You can look the correct spelling up in your dictionary while the rest of us keep brainstorming.” And she began pressing the class for more ocean words.
I located the correct page in seconds. “I found it, Ms. Schitt. Kayak. K-A-Y-A-K, just like I said.” I tried to keep my tone humble, but a little triumph managed to sneak in.
It was not lost on Ms. Schitt. “YESTHANKYOUNUTTYTHATWILLDO,” she replied through gritted teeth, implying anything but gratitude. She erased the offending “kyack” in a single angry stroke, wrote the correct version in its place, and pointedly ignored me for the rest of the day.
I didn’t care. You don’t mess with my palindromes.
Today’s blog post was brought to you by the letter K, the number 2, and the UpSchittCreekWithoutAPaddle Challenge, AKA the Blogging A to Z Challenge.
1 “kayak.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 13 April 2015.
2 No, that was not her real name. Yes, her real name was just as awful.