I think the fine art of handwriting is about done for.

Item: My handwriting is so bad I have trouble reading it any more. It’s not rocket science, I’ve been sitting in front of a computer for two and a half decades, what do you expect? It’s gotten to the point that I no longer apologize for popping open the laptop to take notes in meetings, even with people in suits. And I frequently find that I’m not carrying a pen when I have to fill out the customs forms.

Item: While my little 5½-year-old is learning reading quite smoothly, he really has a long way to go on writing the letters clearly, in a line, and not mirror-imaged. But he exchanges emails with his Grandma and, while the hunting-and-pecking is slow, he gets the job done and isn’t frightened of the keyboard. If I were him, I’d already be asking why I had to master this awkward analog “pencil” technology.

Sad · This is kind of sad, because a person’s handwriting says quite a lot about them; there was a time when I cared about mine and was proud that it was legible, attractive, and idiosyncratic. Now it’s just chicken scratches. But if you’re creating text in any volume, a keyboard is just a better way to go about doing it.

Pencils Aren’t Going Away · Notice that I talked about “handwriting” and “script”. Every human being is obviously going to have to be able to form letters, if only to scribble “Out of Order” on broken equipment or “I’m off picking up Joey” on a note on the fridge. And calligraphy will stand alone as a craft forever. But the practice of cursive script—remember the word “Penmanship”?—is I suspect in its dying days.

author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
January 24, 2005
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