Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cursive is Dead. The Bitches Lied To Me.

You know you’re getting good when your vocabulary is bigger than the most popular word processing software on the planet. No, I’m not using medical terms or archaic words I wouldn’t use in every day speech or at least in every day writing. The plain and simple truth is I know more words than my software does but on the downside I am the world’s worst speller. The guy who invented the red squiggly line would run out of ink if he had to mark my spelling mistakes for real. I cannot spell worth a damn and there isn’t a kinder way to put it.
Back when I was in grade school, my life was a living hell each and every day of the week, each week of each month, for nine months of every year I was pregnant with ridicule and mockery. But you know what? In the end, the bitches were lying to me. The bitches lied to me. There is likely is a kinder way to put that but considering how much trouble they caused me for what turns out to be no good reason, I have every right to be pissed off. In fact, if I thought any of them were still alive, I would send them an email asking, “Yo! Bitches! Can you read this? Is this legible? How’s my penmanship now?”
I was told each and every day of my life bad penmanship was the educational version of scholastic blasphemy. Back in the 60’s and 70’s the worst student in the class was always “made an example of” so the rest of the herd could see what was in store for them if they faltered. I never understood the art of aversion therapy when it was clear it wasn’t working. You can beat a dog to death but you simply cannot teach him to fly an airplane. I couldn’t write within the lines in the time allotted, and I would be willing to bet you anything on earth I still can’t. My handwriting was terrible, and it is terrible, and it will remain terrible until the day I die.

Cursive handwriting was, and still is, impossible for me to create. My brain isn’t wired for my hand to work like that. I have no fine motor skills at all, and believe it or not, hitting me with a stick isn’t going to improve my fine motor skills at all. I can understand punishment for doing something bad, like lying or stealing or taking a chalkboard eraser and shoving into the nasal cavity of a third grade teacher, but what I cannot understand is hitting someone for something you have no evidence at all they can do. Try this: beat a child until that child tells you to stop in Swahili. You could argue that penmanship and speaking a foreign language are two totally different sets of skills, but the bottom line is if the task is impossible, the results are going to be the same.
My poor parents! They were your average leave it to beaver father knows best middle class working couple trying to raise three kids and one of them turns out to be a freak. My oldest sister aced every test she ever took and was a great athlete. My younger sister was graceful and beautiful as well as smart. My parents raised two princesses and a troll.
I’ve often wonder how they viewed this part of my life. When I was in the first grade my father would have been thirty-three and my mother twenty-eight. I look back at where I was and what I was doing at the same ages my parents were when I was a kid, and I wonder if they ever felt totally lost, and totally unprepared for what I was, and what I wasn’t ever going to be. I know at that age I certainly wasn’t equipped to deal with raising a child, but I never planned to do anything of the sort. They had already had a daughter that was doing well, another that seemed to be normal, and I wonder what sort of conversations they had to try to sort it all out. All my friends were doing well in school so it wasn’t like I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, although eventually I would be that crowd. I really and truly and honestly felt sorry for my father, having to go to work and deal with everyone else having a real son, a son who could play ball well and make good grades, and socialize.
A while back I worked with a guy who would come into work and bitch about what a bunch of morons his kids were. Why, when he was five years old he was out in the field driving a tractor and helping out on the farm, and his kids couldn’t even mow the damn lawn, the idiots.

I sat him down one day and asked him if talked about his kids like that around everyone he knew, and he seemed surprised at the question. It matters, I told him, because people will have less respect for your children than you do, but rarely will they have more. If you present your kids as morons to your friends, then your friends are going to have that perception of the kids when your friends and kids socialize. Whether you realize it or not, I told him, your kids can tell when they are around someone who thinks they’re idiots, and they know who gave them that idea.
He didn’t seem to care for me giving him parental advice so I told him that from this point on, we wouldn’t talk about his kids, unless he had something nice to say about them, and if he didn’t, he could tell me before he got started, and I would leave the room.

With the death of cursive writing, I wonder how many people there are, just like me, who are celebrating. It’s a skill we were told we could not live without, and we were told that our penmanship was a reflection of who we were. As it turned out, cursive is dying, just like the old teachers who used to preach it. All I can really think is that I am terribly sorry there wasn’t something good back then, something we could have all shared, and been happy with, and been nice to one another, and not looked back at a dead skill, with regret.

Take Care,
Mike

1 comment:

  1. You're not the only one to rejoice -- see http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com/WritingRebels.html

    ReplyDelete