As someone who truly is a lover and not a <3er, I mourn the blows modern technology has inflicted upon the written language. The world has become increasingly capitalization- and vowel-optional. Weaker punctuation has been hunted to the point of near-extinction as populations of stronger marks like question and exclamation explode and increasingly gather in packs. You think I'm lying???? Just look at them!!!!!!
But on the bright side, technology is evicting one trend that I'm more than happy to see go: cursive handwriting. I can't wait for the last generation of crusty squigglebits to flourish off into the sunset.
Sure, the concept of cursive wasn't so bad. It's a form of writing designed for speed and efficiency, right? You don't have to lift the pen as often and everything just flows together.
The means of educating us to the ways of cursive was pretty good, too. If you're like me, you were taught on extra-wide highway rule paper, like this:
Not only do you learn how to write the cursive letter “A,” you get advance notice on how to pull off a three-point turn.
After days at the desk scrawling out giant letters, most of us actually became pretty good at the style. Unfortunately, as life goes on, our letters tend to deflate into scraggly strands of ink. What could’ve been as simple as a shopping list is instead a matted hairball of confusion clogging the pipes of communication. It’s like an individual’s cursive writing melds with their DNA, creating a new dialect that’s only decipherable by them, and even then they sometimes can’t even make out what they’ve spazzed onto a page.
My experience — and personal vendetta — with all this comes from the newspaper office and, specifically, submissions from senior clubs. No, I have nothing against the Greatest Generation and its right to let everyone know their pinochle scores, but whenever a handwritten submission comes in there’s always a period where you have to pick out bits and pieces just to make sure you weren’t sent their prescription forms by mistake.
It certainly doesn’t help that our area has a high Polish concentration, meaning many of the names we have to spell out can be made by bashing the bottom row of your keyboard and ending it with “-ski,” as such: Bxcvznski (which, of course, is pronounced “Smithski”). We must resort to — and this is completely true — a proofreader who possesses major Polish pride to determine whether we’re even close with the names as we’ve decoded them.
So we give seniors a pass because of the whole World War two-peat victory thing, but if you’re under the age of 65 and want to make your local newspaper very happy, never EVER send them anything written in cursive. We don’t care how perfect you think your handwriting is; you could send us your new podiatry clinic press release in calligraphy on frameable parchment. It doesn’t matter. We will come after you, and we have someone trained in the Polish Deadly Arts.
End here with a smile.