Last week, for Father’s Day, I presented my father with a card and a strawberry-topped cheesecake. Inside the card I hand-printed a brief note thanking him for being a great father; like most of us men, my father doesn’t need flowery prose to get the message. I signed it simply “Your Son” in cursive. That’s where I encountered trouble. The “Y” came out looking like a microbe one would see under a microscope. The “S” appeared like an obese “G.” I had the same problem with my Mother’s Day card last month and, a couple of weeks before then, a birthday card I sent to a friend. But, when I struggled through writing those two simple words – “Your Son” – on the Father’s Day card, I realized how much the cursive script had become an anomaly. It’s practically a dead art form.
With email, instant message, Twitter and text messaging, who writes in cursive anymore? Then again, what fool besides me actually sends birthday cards through snail mail? An older friend of mine was surprised last year to receive a birthday greeting in the mail from me; adding that she would have been satisfied just to receive an email message. She almost couldn’t believe that I had taken the time to pick out the card at a store, hand-write a greeting inside of it, address the envelope, put a stamp on it and driven to the post office to send it out. She’s 80-something and has a computer. We communicate frequently via email, but even she understands how everything from banking to wedding announcements has gone digital.
There are some holdouts. A handful of grade school instructors still insist on teaching cursive. I’m almost 50 and not far removed from the days when cursive writing was a class taught in grade school. Now, even kindergarteners are being taught to use computers. I don’t bemoan that. Like it or not, personal and business computers have become integral factors of our lives. It’s just the way things are, which is good. That means, though, that cursive writing is going the way of album art. I’m sure some of you remember that! Music studios used to employ people to design the covers of its singers’ albums. But, with the popularity of CD’s and now DVD’s, album art is another relic of the past; a dying art style.
Regardless, no matter how much trouble I had signing that Father’s Day card, I’ll continue sending out birthday, condolence and other types of cards for those special occasions. I guess I just now need to practice signing my name in cursive a few times before actually committing it to paper. That already sounds kind of odd. I’m just glad I don’t have to practice working a rotary dial phone anymore.