Day 197: Improve your signature.

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.


Day 178: Go through a phase.

This task has been at the back of my mind for a week or so — I scan ahead every few days, to mentally prepare myself for what’s coming — and I have had no luck in deciding what “phase” to go through. Also, don’t phases last more than a day? Wouldn’t a day-long phase just be a mood?

I was no closer to deciding on a phase when I woke up this morning, and by about noon had said “fuck it, self, let’s go bowling” — there would be no phase, just some bullshit about a phase that didn’t happen.

Well, as the fellow once said, some are born for phases, some achieve phases, and some have phases thrust upon them. Today, I had a phase thrust upon me: I went through my “misdemeanoring” phase.

I had to drive down to campus today, to accomplish two tasks: to put a rug down in my (shared, not-a-closet) office, and to pick up my laptop from OIT.

The rug in question is large enough that I didn’t want to carry it far, especially in the middle of the afternoon in the summer in Texas. I don’t have a campus parking permit, because I take the train almost exclusively, and the parking I usually make use of on those rare occasions when I do drive is further from my office than I was happy about, because of that rug-carrying thing. So, I made use of one of the few metered parking spots that’s within a hundred or so yards of my building.

I fed the meter an hour’s worth of quarters — four of them — and made a mental note of the time, which I promptly lost, because I didn’t expect my two tasks to take up more than an hour, even with the milling about the office and the printing of things for last Saturday’s task that I haven’t done yet, about which more later—— anyway, I expected to be back in the car in an hour, and so paid little attention to the time.

As it happened, I did not return to the car for an hour and twenty minutes, or perhaps an hour and a half, and there was — of course — a parking ticket on my windshield. Thirty dollars for an extra twenty minutes of parking, on a summer afternoon when nobody was on campus anyway.

This made me angry. Unjustifiably angry, I know, but angry nonetheless. I contemplated sending in a scathing letter or dead cockroaches or a photograph of an abnormally large penis instead of a check, but eventually talked myself out of it. I may or may not pay the ticket — I’m feeling misdemeanorlyish, after all — but I’m not going to subject an innocent desk jockey somewhere to my vitriol.

Really, though, this isn’t a misdemeanoring phase at all, but a taking minor inconveniences that are my own fault and trying to turn them into occasions for righteous anger and not succeeding and then being generally crabby and unpleasant to be around phase — which is how I am all the time anyway, and so I don’t think it counts as a phase at all.

Once again: fuck it, I’m going bowling to bed (after another bourbon).