I am working on a paper in which I use the word ubiquitous repeatedly, in reference to something I call the "thesis of ubiquitous partial heritability" (Mom! Are you still reading my blog? Don't I know some fancy words? Don't hear 'ubiquitous' up at the Korner Kupboard, do you?). I keep typing it as "ubiquitious" instead of "ubiquitous," time after time, getting the red squiggle and then having to correct. Why am I unable to internalize this? It's not like I say yoo-BIC-wit-ee-us. Seriously, you're going to think I'm making this up, but I typed it wrong at first for two out of the five times it appears so far in this post. It's like even as I'm thinking about how I can't spell it, my fingers insist on sticking in the extra "i."
As someone who has always prided himself on being able to spell, this is especially painful. But I do know how to spell ubiquitous--if I got it in a spelling bee, I would nail it--I just don't know that I should be spelling that way when I happen to be typing it.
Speaking of spelling bees, I had the greatest idea ever the other night. The big national spelling bee has become an annual hit, but the competition itself is basically more about memorization than spelling, and so then it's a matter of seeing which kid has managed to be able to have her head crammed most full of words she is then able to extract under pressure. Spelling bees are wildly unfair in this respect, though, as the difficulty of particular words varies considerably in ways that are hard to equalize (and the national spelling bee folks don't even seem to try). I suspect the winner almost always would not be able to spell all the words that were presented to competitors over the course of the bee. Plus, they get to stall with all those questions about etymology, etc., detracting from its excitement.
My idea: a National Pi Bee. Get ESPN on board, and some kind of massive scholarship prize. Then, put 12 kids on stage who've been culled in preliminary rounds and given a year to prepare with their families for this like it is basically their whole life. The format is like a spelling bee, except that, each time it's a kid's turn, he has to say the next seven digits of pi. No questions about definitions, no questions at all, and very little luck. Just pure pressure, and pure pi.
Update, 2:30pm: I just misspelled serendipitous "serendipitious", so the affliction appears to be spreading. Why?