Day 197: Improve your signature.Posted: July 30, 2011
Originally scheduled for Saturday, July 16.
I did this a long time ago, sort of. I improved my signature into illegibility.
My signature used to look like my name — I mean, one’s signature is supposed to look like one’s name, I get that, but what I mean is that my signed name looked no different than my name when I was just writing it down. That was unacceptable, and so I improved my signature into an illegible scribble. It’s a forceful and manly scribble, but it looks nothing like letters. Occasionally this causes people to look askance at me — but the paperwork all gets filed and the checks all get cashed, so I don’t guess it’s that big a problem.
My signature needed improving in the first place because I can no longer write in cursive. I learned how somewhere during grade school, and then promptly forgot when I was no longer required by my teachers to use it. (Aside: when I took the GRE, I had to copy out an I promise that I didn’t cheat and that I won’t talk to ANYBODY about what was on this test statement in cursive, and it took me twenty minutes, where it would have taken five if I’d been allowed to print it.)
Cursive is an outmoded technology. When you’re writing with a quill and ink, you want to lift the quill as seldom as possible, to avoid smudges and blots and boils and all that sort of thing. That’s not the case with a ball-point pen, though, so why bother? Nostalgic affectation, that’s why.
It’s probably hypocritical of me to dismiss cursive out of hand while also judging people with bad handwriting, but I do it anyway. Cursive might be an outmoded technology, but writing isn’t, or not yet — and people with terrible handwriting are inferior in important ways to those of us with clear, legible handwriting (and those people who write in cursive are either old, hipsters, or fops). For the record: my handwriting is not so good.
Of course, I do more typing than writing, so maybe handwriting is closer to being outmoded than I’m comfortable admitting. Also, just because cursive is outmoded isn’t a good enough reason to dismiss it: listening to music that’s been etched onto big wobbly pieces of plastic is also outmoded, but I still do it occasionally. I just don’t like cursive, and I’m trying to justify my dislike.
I’m not sure I have a point. My signature used to be legible, and then I fixed it, and now it’s not.