I’ve been a Captain, and a Chairman, and a President, and a host of those other titles briefly bestowed by teams and organizations in small towns on those who fail to attend the nominating meeting. But I’ve never before been a Master. This isn’t a term in common use at schools over here. It is a title of mystical power, implying adulation, deep respect, even awe. Master of the Universe. Zen Master. Master Plumber. Mixmaster. Yes, tomorrow evening I stride to the podium, bow politely to the crowded hall, modestly accept the waves of applause, and take up my index cards as “Bee Master” of the annual Middle School spelling bee. My job is to enunciate clearly, in pure New Englandish, each word at issue, then offer a given short sentence using that word, all while conveying a calming, friendly, yet neutral, attitude. The kids and the judges will take it from there.

I will report Wednesday on the event. I think being Bee Master perfectly suits my talents. I can read, I can talk, and I’m always eager to gain distinction while avoiding responsibility. Masterful.

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