WORD UP -- IT'S THE CODE WORD/SOMEBODY LEARNED SOMETHING AT BAYSIDE: In the next few days, if I can peel myself away from work for a few minutes every hour, then like Shonda I’m going to get irrationally excited about a bunch of kids mentally dissecting and verbally reassembling a series of words, only a random few of which I’ll ever use. The appeal is not just that there are easy parallels to sporting events like the NCAA basketball tournament, where there are favorites and underdogs, preternaturally talented contestants and hard-working heroes who succeed through sheer will and brute effort, steamrolling streaks and upsets and agonizing mistakes, pressure and heartbreak and joy – though those are certainly some of the things I like. It’s not just that there are those things plus the fact that these are engaging kids who make funny kid decisions, like ordering the official polo shirt five sizes too big or confounding Dr. Bailly with impromptu Napoleon Dynamite impressions. In a way, I think it’s that these kids are not just good – they are so much better than I am at something that I have done almost every day since I learned to write. Part of my job – a vanishingly small but nonetheless nonzero part – is spelling things correctly. I do it boringly, perfunctorily, and once a year it’s fun to see people do it daringly, with panache and joy and wispy mustaches. I'll be rooting for the young kid, the girl from Ghana, and the guy from the base in Germany, I think.
While I’m on the subject of things that inspire me, let me mention the story of the euphoniously-named Isaac Lidsky, “Weasel” Wyzell from Saved By the Bell: The New Class, who will be clerking next term for retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. It’s exceedingly hard for a person to go from TNBC to SCOTUS, especially a socially-awkward kid with a hidden heart of gold who never managed to steal a kiss from Sarah Lancaster, Natalia Cigliuti, or Ashley Cafagna. Lidsky is breaking the “plywood painted to look like high-school lockers ceiling” that keeps people like RJ “Hollywood” Collins, Mary-Beth Pepperton, and Teddy Brodis out of the exclusive clerks’ fraternity. I say bravo, Weasel, you are an inspiration to us all.