Doctor Horatio Wallace Speller, MD, Ph.D., gastroenterologist at the Better Bowel Clinic in Baltimore, MD hopes to redeem himself after losing his top position in the National Physician Spelling Bee Off. And it might be a surprise to Dr. Speller’s fans that he missed a word for intestinal grumbles: Borborygmus.
“Well, when you're at the national spelling bee level, there's so much pressure and so many different variables that get technical. I mean I know what Borborygmus is. I know how it sounds. I know what causes it. And I know how to spell it. You have to say the word, spell the word, then say the word again. I just forgot to say the word again,” asserts Dr. Speller.
Everyone was rooting for Dr. Speller, and with a name like Speller you expect the best. Benjamin Randwick, professor emeritus with the Society of Medical Spellers says he agrees with Dr. Speller’s assessment.
“There are so many factors that go on. The participants rush to get to the auditorium on time. And we challenge them with pressure tests,” says Randwick. “One of the factors that threw off Dr. Speller was that he didn't have time to eat enough breakfast. We were serving alphabet cereal that morning to get everyone in the spelling mood.”
Randwick goes on, “Dr. Speller’s stomach was rumbling loudly, VOCIFEROUSLY. It wouldn’t stop. Stomach rumbling caught everyone’s attention. It likely was a distraction for our former national spelling champion.”
Dr. Speller adds, “I've always had a loud stomach. That morning I meant to get an extra bowl of alphabet cereal, but it just didn't work out. Little Jimmy Hinshaw from 6th grade -- now big Jimmy Hinshaw, MD, orthopedic surgeon -- ate the rest of the cereal.”
“Doctor Hinshaw replies, “Look I was always a good speller, and I always had a great appetite. I can't help if Horatio didn't get enough morning vowels and consonants! It's been a long time since 6th grade, but I guess some competitiveness continues.”