Federal bailout for the handwriting industry?
I know I gave up on handwriting long ago. If I handed you one of my reporter’s notebooks and you could decipher more than four or five words per page, you are some sort of secret codemaster who should be immediately sealed in a crate and sent to wherever that place is that Jeff Goldblum went when he took down an entire invading alien species using 1996 pre-broadband technology (“The alien ship is MacBook compatible! Is there anything Steve Jobs doesn’t think of?”).
I smile a bit at this, as I consider it a small victory against all those bullish things in elementary school that we always had a hunch had nothing to do with our real education, such as neatness and cursive skill, the things my report card always suffered under while the actual grades for the classes were doing more than fine (Next up we will finally lose the social stigma against “not being quiet”).
The more time I spend typing, the worse and worse my handwriting gets. Related: the more time I spend my days writing, the more my verbal
communication skills atrophy to a barely intelligible level of conversational grunts and shrugs not dissimilar to early hominid base interactions. My last gf was frustrated by this, so I wrote her an email trying to explain it. Surprisingly, her frustration levels did not ease.
Worse yet was my former roommate and coworker Justin Paprocki, whose handwriting was some sort of proto-Arabic twisted snake of a scrawl, resembling more the blips on a geriatric patent’s heart monitor as she was suddenly seized by nightmares than any actual language.
But in a weird twist, I still don’t have a tape recorder of my own, even though I have long since established a blog and a twitting thingy. And maybe some of my best writing (that you’ll never see so you’ll never know if I’m telling the truth) is spread scattershot in convulsions of black ink and greasy margin smudges like rotten infestations on the husk of dead tree I carry around in my moleskin. A lot of this writing comes in the technology interstitial periods — on the train, waiting for a plane, sitting in the corner of a bar by myself and pounding away at the daily therapy.
I can’t remember how to write a capital ‘Z’ in cursive to save my life either, but I can’t imagine a day when writing by hand isn’t the most direct conduit that best represents my attempts to shoot down the passing flock of thoughts flying by, as inefficient and scattershot as it may be.