Last night 13-year-old Arvind Mahankal got crowned the winner of the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee by spelling knaidel. ”What is a knaidel?” you may ask yourself under your breath since this 13-year-old kid knows more than you. It’s a German word for dumpking. But now that I say it, you knew that, didn’t you? You’ve probably seen it on menus or heard it mentioned by friends or used in a sentence before. ”Hey,” your co-worker frequently shouts across the office, “if anyone touches those knaidels in the fridge, I’ll cut off their knaidels!”
While I’m sure spelling knaidel was a challenge to Arvind, it honestly feels like a cakewalk after working at a celebrity site and being forced to learn how to spell a lot of really hard names. Unlike regular old words, spell check doesn’t help you when it comes to this department. Which is ridiculous and stupid and I’ve launched a kickstarter dedicated to helping us all spell names correctly. If you donate $100 dollars, Zosia Mamet will include you in her music video. If you donate $1000 dollars Zach Braff will let you star in his movie. And if you donate $1,000,000, you can legally change your name to Veronica Mars. It’s that simple.
But since that’s still in the works, I thought we could take a moment to go through all the hardest to spell celebrity names. You know, the ones that I can never spell no matter how many times I’ve written about them.
1. Matthew McConaughey. Is it just me or are there too many vowels employed in this last name?
2. Quvenzhané Wallis. Luckily she’s cute enough (and talented enough) that I devoted ample time during Oscar season learning how to spell this one.
3. Zach Galifianakis. See that “I” hidden next to that F. It gets me every single time.
4. Joaquin Phoenix. There’s nothing more deadly for a name than a Q.
5. Scarlett Johansson. Double T and double S…it’s a bold move, but I suppose she’s a bold lady.
6. Saoirse Ronan. I can’t pronounce it either.
7. Shia LaBeouf. Just like him, it’s a complex grouping of letters with a capital just thrown in the middle.
8. Jake Gyllenhaal (and Maggie Gyllenhaal). Really? Do they need both of those A’s? That seems selfish, right?
9. Zooey Deschanel. There’s nothing quirkier than two o’s in a first name.
10. Martin Scorsese. The only thing I know with more s’s has to do with a girl named Sally who sells sea shells by the seashore.
11. Mia Wasikowska. 10 letters in that last name only makes it 10 times harder to spell.
12. Chloë Sevigny. Okay this one isn’t my fault. It’s the keyboard’s fault. Where would I even find those e dots?
13. Will Ferrell verus Colin Farrell. They’re doable on their own. But when they’re together, it’s just a giant clustereff.
14. J.WOWW. That’s not how you spell wow. It’s just not. I’m sorry, someone had to say it.