Backhanded truth

Penmanship was never my strong suit until my middle teens, when I assume that the onrush of hormones that screwed up everything else somehow induced me to change my scrawl to a sweet flowing script. (My original Social Security card, issued in the 1960s, contains a signature worthy of Sister Catherine.) Today, well, not so much.

Still, that doesn’t constitute anything like an argument for the abandonment of actual handwriting:

If you can’t read cursive, someone could hand you page 12 of the owner’s manual of a ’94 Toyota Camry and tell you that it’s Article Three of the Constitution, and if you can’t read the original to compare, you’d just need to take their word for it that the Supreme Court has a 3 year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty.

And as we all know, there are entire cities — Washington, D.C. comes quickly to mind — of people who are manifestly incapable of reading the Constitution. I doubt many of them are driving ’94 Camrys, though.

Addendum: Learning it once is hard enough; learning it twice is torturous.


  1. fillyjonk »

    4 February 2014 · 8:41 am

    I have a friend who is very fluent in German, and reads it well. However, she notes that she cannot read some of the old-style writing/printing (Fraktur, I think?) – which means some of the historical documents are unreadable to her.

    I’m not sure that reducing people’s flexibility in what they can do is a good idea. My own handwriting is terrible (I was kept out of a G/T program because one of the teachers felt I needed to “focus on handwriting more,”) but I can certainly read most handwriting.

  2. McGehee »

    4 February 2014 · 9:44 am

    I’d never make it as a pharmacist, but my scrawl is fast approaching doctor grade.

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