Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

Buzz Word Bingo

Date: 19 September 2018
Category: Current Events, Homophones, Nature, Spelling

A Texas man mowing his lawn last Wednesday was stung 600 times by a swarm of a certain species of an Africanized bee. Fortunately, he is recovering after he landed up in intensive care for three days. According to, the best way to be careful during such an attack is to run away in a straight line (a bee line?) while covering the person’s face because that type of insect is slow-flying (hard to be-lieve).

The innocent homeowner had been minding his own business, unlike an 11-year old Phoenix area boy last year who intentionally antagonized a hive of Africanized bees by shooting a BB gun at it, resulting in several hundred stings for him. For that unfortunate “good” aim he probably would have earned a grade of a “B” or better from a firearms instructor. Not sure, however, how the young boy might have done in a school spelling bee,* or in a Shakespeare class, i.e., Hamlet’s soliloquy, “…to be, or not to be….”

*According to Merriam-Webster, the ‘bee’ in ‘spelling bee’ is an alteration of a word that meant “voluntary help given by neighbors toward the accomplishment of a particular task,” and descends from the Middle English word ‘bene’. Bene also gave us the word boon, understood today to mean “blessing,” but which also has the meaning of “benefit” or “favor.” The word has historically been used to describe group activities (a “quilting bee”) or occasions when farmers or neighbors would help each other, such as a “husking bee,” “apple bee,” or “raising bee.”




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