What I meant to say was:
Take a good look at these images because soon, according to a recent blurb in National Geographic magazine, this is what handwriting will look like to children. Wait. Scratch that. That is already how some student handwriting looks to me. Ahem, you there in the basement playing video games, you know who I’m talking about!
Forgive me, I must pause to wipe away the tears…
I know that my children consider me to be the most ancient of dinosaurs – mostly because my grasp of modern popular culture is so dim and because I quote facts about ancient history (the Sixties). This doesn’t usually bother me until I read something that informs me that handwriting (cursive) will soon no longer be taught in schools because, really, what’s the point?
I was tempted not long ago to write a post about the lost art of letter-writing but this blows any such idea straight out the window. Letter-writing, while no longer done slowly, contemplatively with pen and paper, can still be achieved with a keyboard but to tell me that handwriting as a basic human function is going the way of the Galapagos Turtle?
Soon, wise men say, humans will no longer be instructed on how to form letters in one continuous sweep of the pen. One of the best things about cursive is that it’s as different as the people doing it. Personalities can be detected in the loops, swoops, and dots – probably more so than in the images above. You can tell, if you’re schooled in such things, if a person is left-handed or right-handed. If they’re tense or relaxed. Shy or egotistical. If they’re Jekyll or if they’re Hyde. So much can be gleaned from a person’s signature. How much can you tell about someone tapping on a keyboard?
Soon, my kitchen table will no longer be littered with stray pens and pointless pencils that seem to leap out of the old coffee mug that serves as their corral. How will I totter over to my wall calendar and write down the times for my Geriatric Zumba class if such writing implements are to be extinct? Yes, I still have a giant paper wall calendar. Yes! I still attempt to write on it with a ballpoint pen, stopping every few seconds to shake the ink back down to the tip…I am sad, so very sad. Very nearly obsolete, I am.
I will no longer be proud to show off my left-handed pen grip that avoids twisting my hand at an unnatural angle and dragging my hand across the top of the page like so many other lefties. I was schooled by even older dinosaurs who tried and failed to turn me into a right-hander. If pens and pencils are to go the way of the Dodo bird, will Crayola crayons go too? Will our children only be taught how to colour using Microsoft Paint or some other program? Methinks I am going to buy some colouring books and hoard them – something bizarre and exotic to show the grandkids who will likely never experience them…
Perhaps, cursive writing will be considered an ancient art form like calligraphy. A point was made in one of the articles I read – there will have to be people schooled, presumably, in how to read old handwriting if we are to have any of our ancient (cough) history preserved and explained.
None of this is new, the lament has been going on for some time. The National Geographic article just illustrated it really well, showing a line of handwriting being slowly dimmed by the strokes of an eraser, line after line, fading until it was no longer legible. Still I weep. I’m going to go practice my cursive Z. And, then the Q. Perhaps there will be a job for me in my dotage, after all.
“Whats your gran do all day in that museum?”
“She’s a hand-writer.”
“Ohhhhh. What’s that?”