By Pat Remick
Although I am aware that my penmanship may not meet the standard that Catholic schools once were famous for, you’d think the man I live with might be able to figure out my handwriting after nearly three decades together.
After all, I can read his witing and it’s far worse – written left-handed in a slant that makes people dizzy. My kids -- they of the 'Net and texting generation – endured just one year of cursive training so they print if, God forbid, they can’t communicate by computer or text from their phones. This Gang of 3 claims that not only is my handwriting the worst in the house, it also can be a source of entertainment.
In fact, Husband No. 1 gets a weekly chuckle out of pretending he cannot interpret my notations on the grocery list – “What are tamdos wells?” he’ll ask trying to look innocent when clearly (at least to me) I’ve written “taco” shells. “Why do we need hot tomatoes?” he’ll say when we need potatoes. Sometimes he'll return from the grocery store without a critical recipe ingredient because “I couldn’t read your writing.” (Have I mentioned that he also hasn’t figured out that to use a cell phone to call me, he might have to bring it with him?)
Anyway, this written communication problem raised its ugly head again recently on the first day of July when I called him en route to work to ask him to flip the calendar, check the date for No. 2 son’s annual checkup and remind the child to make sure when he went into work that afternoon, to request the time off. A short time later I received this e-mail from Husband No. 1:
"The checkup possibilities are:July 13: "4:45 Pedo/Synod Mo Velly"
July 15: "-Dad"
July 23: "$70we"
July 24-25: "Doud"
July 31: "10:30 anyou"
Any of those look like it?"
Huh? Does my beloved truly believe notations like “$70we” or “anyou” merit being added to the family calendar? It makes me wonder what world he thinks I inhabit that I would need to remember something like “Doud” and “Mo Velly.” It took only one quick look at his e-mail message to figure out the appointment is July 13—“4:45, Pediatrics, Dr. Symonds” -- AND NOT “Pedo/Synod Mo Velly.”
My conclusion from this latest experience is that the man is just not trying hard enough. Maybe "Mo Velly" could do better.
This also has me wondering if difficulty reading someone else's handwriting has affected any of the books published throughout history. What if the person transcribing someone else's story guessed at a word because they had difficulty deciphering the author's penmanship -- and the word was not what the author wrote? I suspect that's happened somewhere along the way -- don't you? Imagine the possibilities....