Monday, February 22, 2010


Papaw, my paternal grandfather, would be appalled at how sloppy my signature has become since the advent of those electronic signature devices you use when you pay with a credit card at a store now. My digital signature looks very little like my signature when I use an ink pen, so much that I'm genuinely surprised that it's ever accepted by the electrons in charge of signature approval. I blame this on the electronic reader. There's usually a lag time between the moment I first put the stylus to the display screen and when my first initial actually appears on the screen. By then I'm well into writing my first name, and the delayed appearance of my electronic initial startles me so much that I focus on the lag time instead of actually writing my name. Sometimes the electronic screen picks up the movement of the stylus even when it's not actually touching the screen, and this creates an awful snarl of lines and letters. When I'm done, you really can't tell if I've written my name or "Theodore Dostoevsky" instead.

But I can tell that my handwritten signature has also gotten sloppier over the years as well. Maybe because I halfway expect the ink on the paper to suddenly snarl itself just like the way my electronic signature usually does. When I was little, Papaw would make me practice writing my name in cursive over and over again. I have a vague memory of him trying to guide my arm itself rather than let my fingers direct the movement of my writing, which makes me think he had been schooled in the Palmer method of penmanship. At any rate, Papaw had beautiful handwriting and mine never seemed anywhere as elegant as his. He'd be utterly ashamed at what passes for my signature when I sign for a credit card electronically.

On the other hand, Papaw wouldn't have approved of anyone using a credit card in the first place, but that's another story.

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