My mother (who is, as all mothers are, always right) has been chiding me gently for decades now about the atrocious state of my signature, which consists mainly of my first initials followed by some wobbly penwork vaguely resembling a tachycardia victim’s EKG readout.
Apparently credit card companies and so forth have an easier time of checking your signature if it is neat and tidy.
Actually I think mothers just like their children to be neat and tidy generally and she’ll use any excuse to attempt to improve my atrocious handwriting.
Alas, it is too late. My handwriting is at best the second worst in the newsroom, but in reality, it is probably the actual worst. This does have its benefits; I am able to decipher the handwriting of the other person with bad handwriting, easily discriminating between the words "outdoor pool" and "cat door pool," for example. And I never need to write in code or do what Leonardo Da Vinci did and write everything backwards. Instead, everything I write is automatically recorded in a secret language only I can read.
When I need to leave someone in the office a note, I email them. That way there’s a chance they might be able to figure out what it means. They’re reporters, not cryptographers.
In any case, you can only imagine how gratified I was when I spied this post, with Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s signature, complete with analysis, on the Forum Communications Co.’s Capitol Chatter blog.
It included this quote in reference to Pawlenty, although it could equally well be applied to me:
"When one cannot discern the name in the signature, it generally means that the writer knows who he is and if you don’t, it is your problem," said Alice Weiser, a Houston, Texas, hand-writing expert and author. "Rather than be a clear communicator, he prefers a bit of showmanship."
Next time someone points at one of my notes and wonders what language it’s intended to be in (it does kind of look like Assyrian cuneiform at times, I will admit), I will inform them that I am merely demonstrating my showmanship.
Unless it’s my mother.