Tonight, the 87th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee will come to a reliably dramatic conclusion in Oxon Hill, Maryland. After multiple grueling rounds, a pool of 281 contestants between the ages of 8 and 15 has been reduced to only 12. The finals will air at 8 p.m. on ESPN (and stream online at WatchESPN), because sports. The National Spelling Bee may cap its competitors at the eighth grade, but this game is strictly for grownups.
Take a sip any time a speller asks for a word's definition.
Take a shot any time you knew what that word meant. Good on you, buddy.
Take a sip any time a speller asks for a word's language of origin.
Take a sip any time a speller asks for a word's part of speech.
Take a sip any time a speller asks for a word to be used in a sentence.
Take a shot any time that sentence was, objectively, completely unhelpful. Come on.
Take a sip any time a speller asks to hear a word pronounced again.
Take a shot any time a speller pronounces his or her word wildly differently from the way the official pronouncer said it.
Take a sip any time a speller asks if there are any alternate pronunciations of a word.
Take two sips any time a speller is reminded that he or she is only allotted two minutes to ask questions about the word, so could she please start spelling it already, thank you very much.
Take a shot any time a speller gets sassy with the judges.
Take a sip any time a speller nervously restarts spelling a word from the beginning.
Take two sips any time a speller displays an adorable idiosyncrasy, like "air-typing" each word before she spells it.
Take a sip any time a speller nonchalantly breezes through an empirically impossible word.
Take a sip any time you're at least 90 percent sure that the pronouncer has just read a made-up word, because that can't be a word, can it?
Take two sips any time you catch yourself cheering out loud when your favorite contestant — yes, of course you've settled on a favorite contestant — advances to the next round.
Take three sips any time you find yourself feeling very, very dumb compared to these kids. You are. We all are.
Take a shot any time you find yourself reminiscing about your own performance, good or bad, in a long-ago spelling bee. Trust me: no one wants to hear it.
Take a sip any time a speller is eliminated.
Take a shot any time a speller's parents audibly protest their child's elimination.
Take two shots if they're escorted out of the building by security.
Finish your drink any time you actually know how to spell one of the words.
Finish your drink, open a new drink and finish that one, too if you can spell the winning word. Don't count yourself out — in 1936, a speller won on "interning." (I know, right?)
Image via Flickr.