The writing is on the wall

Apparently hand writing is on its last legs (or more correctly, its last arms). Specifically, cursive writing is currently in the academic cross hairs, although block printing is probably not too far behind. Much like we no longer teach long division or the dreaded times tables because their efficacy has been eclipsed by calculators and spreadsheets, electronic modern conveniences are also pushing ‘pen and pencil pushing’ into oblivion. Apparently kids no longer even know how to read cursive script let alone write it. This is disconcerting to me for many reasons.

1. A skill that took me many years to learn and that many would say I have still not perfected will shortly become obsolete. All of that blood, sweat and tears (that also caused the ink from the fountain pen to run) and striving for the gold stars I failed to earn for perfect penmanship were for naught. Can I please get about 6 years of my life back?

2. This is yet another nail in the literacy coffin. It’s bad enough that texting has hastened the demise of spelling and grammar. Now signing our names is going out the window. In fact, most of the time I only need to swipe my credit card in the vicinity of the credit processing device and don’t even need to enter a PIN number to complete my transaction, let alone sign anything.

3. What will happen to all of those cardboard examples of the platonic form of cursive letter formation that formed a frieze over the blackboards just in case you forgot which way the loop on the lowercase Q was supposed to face (and instead inserted random G’s)? If I was smart I would corner the market and wait for the mid-21st century version Antiques Roadshow to make my fortune.

4. Handwriting was always one way to assert individuality. I never adopted the “heart over the I” affectation but do admit to a phase of circles instead of dots. Then in my minimalist period I stopped dotting the dottibles completely, a style that has persisted until today much to the annoyance of anyone trying to read my scrawl.

5. The livelihood of graphologists is now in grave danger. This may actually be life threatening. According to Dr. Oz, your handwriting can be a diagnostic tool for everything from pregnancy, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and suicidal tendencies. If that’s the case, the money we are saving by cutting out penmanship classes had best be diverted to the healthcare system immediately.

6. 3M had better examine its PostIt Note business model post-haste. If no one is able to actually write a note, I think they are on the road to obsolescence. I am available for a strategy meeting any time.

7. On the other hand, anyone who wants to set up a completely un-hackable and encrypted method of communicating secrets in the near future will only need to use a pen and paper. Wait a minute – my writing is incomprehensible to almost everyone. I feel a new career coming on…

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