Once upon a time I would laugh at my Dad’s handwriting. Oh you could read it if you squinted a lot and were persistent. And aesthetically it wouldn’t be considered visually pleasing.
Still, while going through early school my own handwriting wasn’t aesthetically pleasing either (although I thought it was more intelligible). So for years, I resorted to printing for my handwriting, which I thought looked better.
Finally, in my last couple years of schooling, I came up with a style of writing I liked. It incorporated a sort of twitchiness that I had better control of than in ordinary writing. To myself I called it “electric handwriting” because the writing kind of reminded me of the zigzags of lightning or the electric Jacob’s Ladder or even a plasma ball. In fact I’m so proud of my handwriting that I think it should almost be a font. Below I picture the capital letters of my writing so you can have a taste. Then there are the lower case letters, the biggest oddity among them being a small “capital” r for the lowercase r. I never could manage the normal written lowercase r. And thirdly I show an abandoned method of dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s. I figured at the time that not lifting the pen might be faster just as it is with the rest of writing. But then there are all the crossed letters like l and h. Plus dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s in antidisestablishmentarianism takes a longer time than I hoped.
But I had to write bigger than normal to show you all this (the blog sizing then made it smaller). Because almost 20 years out of school, my writing isn’t nearly as neat as it used to be.
In fact, my signature these days approaches the look of my Dad’s signature. I just don’t know how long I can pretend my handwriting is still superior. And in fact, when I first noticed my Dad’s bad handwriting, he was just a bit older than me and many more years out of school than I am.
Which leads me to the theory that with little or no practise, aesthetically pleasing handwriting goes the way of the dodo.
But you may well know of the obvious exception: doctors. They go to school longer than almost all of us and yet have worse handwriting than the norm. Indeed some even say that interpreting doctor’s handwriting for prescriptions can be one of the hardest jobs.
And I know the stereotype is true because of the only close relative of mine that could be called a doctor, well that is a PhD, my Uncle Lorne who was a professor of Geography. The first time I saw his handwriting was when he made a trip to Australia and sent us a post card. It was worse hand writing than my Dad’s. I spent a long time trying to read it and I think I guessed at about half of the words on the card.
Deteriorating hand writing may be the standard way to go but perhaps doctors have developed so much disdain for the written word that this is how they show their contempt.
Then there is theory number two about handwriting. All 4 of my sisters had neater handwriting than myself before I adopted the “electric handwriting” answer. In fact I think on the whole the average female can write neater than the average male. You might guess at my theory from something I said earlier.
Remember I mentioned that I can write neatly if I make it bigger?
Well women have wee hands, arms and wrists. Writing neatly and in the standard lines given by a sheet of paper should come easy for them. If the lines were bigger, perhaps us large strapping males could be neat, too.