Here's the scoop: April 10, 2013

The Write Stuff
The Daily Star in Oneonta carried a big, front page story this week about the death of handwriting. In the business, we like to refer to such “stories” as a slow news day. I know them well.

But, that’s not the point. The fact is, the Star is correct, handwriting is no longer utilized — or given much consideration — by many people. That’s unfortunate.
Personally, I abandoned the handwriting game long ago. Like a bad relationship, “It just wasn’t working for me.”

I guess maybe that’s why I admire people who can communicate with really nice, neat handwriting. To me, such skills are like a foreign language. I am baffled when someone has every pen stroke perfectly recorded. I guess because the number of people who possess such skills is dwindling, their handwriting becomes more distinctive.

I know that style
It’s always surprising to me how I can immediately recognize handwriting that I see infrequently. When the holiday season rolls around, I often can tell who cards are from, just by glancing at the style in which the card is addressed. Or, maybe it’s the return address. Just kidding.

I’m not sure how people develop a “signature” writing style. For me, I vaguely recall learning to write by trying to neatly fit characters inside the lines illustrated on writing tablets. Thinking back, I believe there was a time when I worked at this craft, trying to develop a legible writing technique. That lasted until study hall.

Even as my handwriting “style” rapidly deteriorated whenever I didn’t have the benefits of lined paper to guide my lettering, I still remember a fascination with writing my own name. I experimented with my signature quite a bit — sweeping letters, blocky ones, no capital letters. I tried them all. They all looked bad.

Handwriting was on the wall
I’m not sure when I completely abandoned the pursuit of having a unique signature, but I suspect it was around the time that I acquired my first credit card. Try as I might, I couldn’t achieve much more than a blurry pen line whenever I added my “authorized signature” to the back of a card. It finally dawned on me that having a signature reminiscent of heart-rate monitor wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I no longer cared.

Truth be told, I think this realization was occurring around the same time that I was admitting to myself that the 70 mph fastball that I could sneak past a lot of hitters in Delaware League baseball play wasn’t going to cut it in the majors. So, there probably wouldn’t be a lot of autograph signing in my future.

It had become clear that I wasn’t going to make it in the pros as a right-hander. And, I certainly didn’t have much of a future as a hand-writer.
— Brian Sweeney