Check please.

I wrote a check the other day, and I felt like I was trying to remember how to speak high school French or something. First I wrote the amount where I was supposed to write the name, so I tore that one out. Then when I finally got that straight, I drew the line before I had written in the second part of the dollar amount. Apparently I don't know the difference between dollars and cents. I signed it, and handed it over, only to have it handed back because I neglected to date it. I probably looked like I shouldn't be allowed to live on my own, but that's what it's come to.

I write maybe two checks a year. Everything else is swipe this, wave that, click the button for the other thing. I pay my bills from my bank's website, or automatic deduction from my checking account, or even with this ridiculously old-school thing called Quicken. I'm pretty sure I may have actually forgotten how to write. It's that bad.

Apparently Indiana is phasing out cursive starting this fall, and I am pretty sure children everywhere are rejoicing. Granted, it was on its way out even when I was in high school, but to stop it completely is sort of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, it's practically useless and it's true that most things are done on a computer now, but on the other hand, it's supposed to help with comprehension and also hand-eye coordination. I don't know if I buy that, but from a purely selfish standpoint, we had to suffer through that shit so they should have to as well. Plus if there's no cursive, all the kids will have to come up with their own symbol to use when they sign stuff. I guess Prince was ahead of his time. A hundred years from now everyone will probably just sign shit with a talking hologram of themselves, or a DNA sample.

I really noticed how utterly inept I've become at writing while I was signing books. At first I tried cursive, just because I thought it would look more professional. I felt like I had brain damage. I kept forgetting the order of letters, putting extra loops where there shouldn't be any... finally I just gave up and started printing the inscriptions, which was only marginally better. I must have wrecked 4 or 5 books so far -- just because I made such a mess of them I couldn't bear to send them out. And for those of you who actually received signed books and still could barely make out what I wrote -- you have a frame of reference as to how bad the ruined ones actually are.

In fact, I actually did send out some that I probably shouldn't have, but they cost me almost five bucks a pop, so I apologize if you got something that looked like it was scribbled on by a pre-schooler.

If it's any consolation, the signature looks different on every one of my credit cards, so I'm probably wide open for identity theft. You probably won't get much though.



  1. MickeyBrennan10:26 PM

    Just make your mark and kiss this book. That's why X's mean kisses.

  2. Although I lost the ability to write in cursive many years ago and my handwriting is borderline atrocious, I'll admit that I'm a little sad to see that cursive is being officially phased out. I think you bring up an interesting point about signatures, though. Are people going to print their signature from now on? Weird.

    Incidentally, I got one of your signed books and I could read all of it except for one word. And what I thought it said didn't make much sense. But then after about an hour I had an "a ha" moment, I realized what you wrote, and it all came together.

  3. KMarie2:03 AM

    My son learned cursive in 3rd grade and didn't have to use it at all in 4th grade. I told him he needed to practice so when he was required to use it, maybe this year in 5th grade, he would know how to write cursive. He never practiced. Sad to say, gone are the days of handwritten letters. His class even typed their letters to their penpals last year. I also just set up an email account fot him so he could keep in touch with our friends around the country. Maybe I'm no better. But I think I'm going to be one of those moms that makes him write in cursive at home. Afterall, He needs to have a kick ass signature for when he's famous!

  4. So, can you sign my Kindle version of your book?

  5. Wow, you taught me something about my own State that I didn't know.

    Which also probably explains why my highly intelligent kids write like shit. Maybe the school systems saw that and said, "Yeah, they are NEVER gonna get cursive."

  6. Anonymous10:38 AM

    I got a book where you spelled my name wrong and then struck it out to spell it right. That made me feel sad. But reading this helps to understand why you did it.

  7. Last week I found fraudulent charges on my Visa debit and had to cancel and order another. I had a tough time filling out a withdrawal slip at the bank to get some cash to cover me while I was without my card. With auto deposit, ATMs and my card I can't remember the last time I filled out a withdrawal slip.

  8. Damn, I missed your t-shirt contest. That's what I get for not checking in more often. That said, as far as writing is concerned I write in a printing/cursive hybrid that only I can read apparently. If anything has to be written in my household I give it to the wife.Also, too, have you noticed that everyone is tweeting and texting in short itty bitty words that only few people understand? I guess we are evolving back into caveman grunts.

  9. Mickey, that's my new MO.

    Jen, sorry about that. You must have been one of the first.

    Kmarie, make him pay.

    Zel, sure. Just mail it to email it to me and I'll hook you up.

    Ed, cursive would break their little minds.

    ANON, Oh No! I don't want you to feel sad. If I did that, I did it to be funny, but please, send me an email and I will definitely send you another one.

    Kirby, I don't think I could do that right now if a bank robber had a gun to my head.

    Bobby, you're right. See Mickey's comment. X

  10. Valgal5:34 PM

    Your new signature looks like some kind of hybrid strain of ebola.

  11. Anonymous5:46 PM

    I thought the scribbling was supposed to make my book worth more $$. Dang.

    Boris: Ees hokay, Natasha. Americans can not read my attack plan.
    Natasha: Why ees that, dollink?
    Boris: Ees because I wrote in cursive and that ees just as confusing as the Spanish they were too lazy to learn.
    Natasha: Hokay, you spy-school dropout, leesten to me...now you write the plan in Spanish AND cursive.
    Boris: Oh, Natasha. That's why you the boss. You just too smart for me.
    Natasha: And don't you forgeet eet, dedushka.

  12. Anonymous7:12 PM

    My handwriting is a mixture of horrible printing and mangled cursive. NO ONE can read it but me. My signature is awful, too, and not easy to read under the best of circumstances. But boy did I have to learn cursive. Penmanship was my only grade below a B! LOL

    Peace <3

  13. My cursive is actually much better than my printing, since I use it much less often, and therefore have to slow down and think a little when I am using it. No matter though. Working in the medical field, no one expects my handwriting to be legible.

  14. I saw an article recently about this. If people stop learning cursive (or in my part of the world aka 'running writing') then in a generation or so people won't be able to read old records or letters :( Sad really.

    For me I still like to write especially to really remember ideas or organise thoughts. Typing it out on a computer doesn't really cut it.

  15. Just finished reading ALL of your blog posts for the past five years. I'm so happy that I am finally caught up to current times. You are a very prolific writer! I'm going to buy two copies of your book...one I will keep, and the other I will be sending to my son who is serving in Afghanistan. I've been copying some of the posts to him through email, and he seems to really enjoy your work.

    Thank you for sharing with us! After three months of reading about your life, I feel like I know you! :)

  16. Pixie, please send me your son's mailing address. I'd like to send him a copy.

  17. I call BS on phasing our cursive writing. Our handwriting and signatures are something that we have that is different than everyone elses. Why on Earth would signatures of famous people be worth so much? I call utter BS!

  18. Thank you so much! That is very kind of you!

    Unit 76650
    FPO AE 09510-6650

  19. Pixie, you're welcome. It went out today. Hope he enjoys it, and hope he comes home safe and soon.

  20. I just wrote two fan letters longhand, in hopes that the people would be more likely to read them. If I don't have to compete with kids that can't write anymore, so much the better! :)

    Ew; can you imagine working at a bank or store where instead of a signature everyone provides a DNA sample? That would take the anti-bac craze to a whole new level.

    PS - WV is RETRO. Appropriate.

  21. Great topic! I have had to brush up on my handwriting skills lately, as a matter of fact. A young friend of ours started at the US Naval Academy three weeks ago, and the ONLY form of communication allowed is snail-mail. That's it, period - kid has zero computer access (and gets one phone call home every two weeks; yep, it's worse than prison right now! :-))

    Anyway, it's a wonder if he was able to read my first letter, since my hand cramped after a couple of unaccustomed long-hand sentences and my former nice cursive (courtesy of Mrs. Murphy in 5th grade, God love her) degenerated into atrocious chicken scratch. I've gotten a bit better since then and am recalling the many, many long letters I used to write to my BF in the Air Force. Our military guys and gals TRULY appreciate their mail - that's very nice of you to send your book to "Pixie's" son! (Thank you for his service, and wishes for a safe return)

  22. Anonymous5:59 PM

    Johnny, that is so awesome that you sent Adam a book. Way to support our troops.

    Can I buy one of the horriblyt signed copies of your book that you couldn't bare to send out??? I work for lawyers whose handwriting is worse than doctors. I know I could read it.

    Hey Pixie, thank you for your sacrafice in sending your son overseas. God Speed Adam.


  23. Anonymous1:22 PM

    @ RiderWriter -

    My son is also busy with Plebe Summer at the Naval Academy, so I feel your pain about the pain one feels while writing a snail-mail letter. Luckily, in three weeks or so, they'll get their phones back and get their computers so we can dispense with the hand written letters. (Not entirely, because everyone enjoys receiving actual mail every now and again.)

    On another note... My younger son (now 15) learned an odd form of printing that was geared toward learning cursive. He never really "learned" cursive and his printing was odd because it looked like a blend of the two forms. At least his printing is improving as he ages, while mine is getting worse...

  24. kristina6:42 PM

    The Symbol, aka The author formerly known as JV...

    What is up with people not knowing how to write? Sometimes the only way I can remember how to spell a word is to write it down... This explains why my typing sucks, I'm sure!! ;)

  25. Yes, Indiana is phasing out cursive. As you know, my husband is from upstate NY, and although he's lived in IN now since 1992 he swears he's not a Hoosier, and never will be one. This idea that cursive will no longer be taught has opened up the stage for all sorts of jokes. He claims this will give the teachers more time to teach other things - like cow tipping, corn detassling, soybean tips and tricks, giving directions to others (go up to where that old tree used to be, take a right at Captain's Corner, three barns past the sheep farm, and a little north of where the first homicide in Wells County took place). Seriously, though, my youngest will be a senior in high school this fall, and he's already so far removed from writing or reading cursive. If I write a note or a grocery list for him, I must print or go the preferred route and text it to him.