Friday, December 02, 2011

Well, at least they're not trying to round off π again.

With the last buggy whip manufacturer having apparently gone under, the Indiana state legislature was forced to look elsewhere for maidens to save. Luckily they didn't have to look far:
Indiana lawmakers want cursive mandatory in schools
Well. It's good to know that the state's affairs are so in order that our lawmaking body has the time to look around for insignificant bits of citizens' lives with which to meddle, and...

Wait, what's that you say? "Cursive is essential for a child's development"?

By Jove, you're right! The stunted dwarfs that inhabited this fair land before the birth of the great Austin Palmer grubbed in the earth like worms. They traveled by horse and buggy and scarce had seen a steam locomotive, yet by the time of Palmer's last orbit 'round the sun, we were transmitting moving pictures through the æther and bestriding the oceans in single hops. It should be perfectly obvious that his Method is the key to our modern technological civilization!

Look, without getting into my usual rants about public education (in which I point out that the adjective "public" modifies the noun "school" the same way it does "transportation" or "restroom": serving as a warning that it is filthy and full of junkies and criminals,) can we agree that the school board has larger fish to fry than this minnow? After all, what good does it do to be able to laboriously copy out "See Spot run" in the most elegant of scripts if you haven't successfully been taught to read it in the first place?


Anonymous said...

Wait, this is the same legislature that just privatized public schools with vouchers because government cannot be allowed to run schools?

Fly, be free! Now that you are free here's what you have to teach.

Oh, and Pi is 3.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree that the school board has bigger fish to fry, but I recall my shock and dismay when I saw samples of my then-middle school aged niece's homework: it looked like it has been written by a half-wit with a pointed stick dipped in mud because penmanship absolutely was not being taught in her school.

Yes, yes, I know: people type far more than they write these days, but it seems to me that a reasonably good hand is as useful to a person's success as a reasonably good speaking ability. It doesn't help one's career prospects when he can't legibly fill out a job application, or stammers like Obama without his teleprompter during an interview.

By the same token, I'm a big believer in teaching such things as the multiplication tables, spelling, and long division: yes, most people use machines to do those things for them, but it rather helps for peeple not too hav to relie on a mushine to due that fer thim so thay dont luk ignerent if they aint got on fer sum reesin.

Tam said...

I must say this about my move to Indiana: What the state lacks in visual scenery of the "mountains and beaches" variety, it more than makes up for in entertainment from the statehouse.

Tam said...


I have happily block-printed my way through life. As a southpaw, while I appreciate the aesthetic appeal of an attractive hand, the extra effort just isn't worth it.

Roberta X said...

SB: that's why all round barns are hexagonal.

Doc Jim: they still teach how to print, no? We didn't start cursive until third grade -- I thought they called it that 'cos that was the same year the boys really starting writing bad words on the walls.

(Brits have taught a modified italic hand called "Chancery Cursive" for some time now. It's just printing with a few connectors, fast and legible.)

Unknown said...

"This McDonald's job application is GORGEOUS!"

leaddog said...

I agree with the "govt" comment and its general meaning as an adjective. The larger govt has no business in this, but one would think that the local school boards would be intetested in their children's education more than they appear to be.

However, it would be really nice if the "teachers" we less wrapped up in beng green and tree hugging and all techo crazy and actually used the spelling, grammar and other lessons as a secondary vehicle for penmanship practice. A paper and pencil instead of a word processor. That way perhaps "See spot run." would actually look like "See spot run" on the job application rather than the scribbled jibberish my granddaughter created when she was 2.

Lack of penmanship training is not limited to the govt operated schools, I fought giant penmanship wars with the teachers at the private school my youngest attended too.

leaddog said...

I too wsrite from the port side. It is the only thing "left" about me hehehe. I was very fortunate to have my Sainted Aunt, also a lefty, reteach me to write as only a Bismarckian German haus frau can. I developed a reasonable hand which I have been told is much more similar to my aunt and her contemporaries in style and readability than my peers, as would be expected. I hold my hand under the line rather than over it as many south paws do. I also tend to print more than cursive.

Unfortunately, I am not sure that anything it being taught, and nothing with any gusto. The current fad is called denillian (sp?) which appears to be an attempt at the stylized manuscripted the British gent mentioned. It too is a mess.

As an employer, I am not concerned with wtyle, but clarity. I want to be able to read it.

leaddog said...

Apparently I am also not concerned with spelling or typing my posts correctly.

Apologies for all the typos.

Anonymous said...

Not teaching cursive is a plot to make the Constitution unreadable.

Unknown said...

We learned cursive in the Second Grade, lo those seventy years gone by. :-) I still remember Miss Crystal's class; flash cards for arithmetic and penmanship.

We think and speak in cursive style, not in the stop-start of printing. Cursive writing is faster, more in synch with thought. Learning cursive facilitates all learning.

Jay G said...

I must need more coffee. I thought you were saying that Indiana schools were going to start teaching cursing.

Hell, I homeschool for that...

Shane said...

They want to fix cursive writing so they can say they accomplished something rather deal with real issues. I was taught sursive by Catholic school nuns. I never received a grade higher than a 'D' in penmanship during the seven years I had to deal with it before I started using a typewriter and moved to a new public school. Teach cursive familiarization as a four week class.rization. If they want more, let them learn calligraphy.
A friend learned cursive the same way I did. His was pretty. Illegible, but pretty. He got 'A's.
Faster? bad cursive such as nine takes longer than any of the alternatives.
The Declaration and Constitution are available in other typefaces and even languages. and have been since shortly after they were fist written. Fight for something that has meaning on a greater level. not something that just looks nice. Bad penmanship doesn't make for a bad or stupid person -- just someone with bad penmanship.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Roberta: It may not be what docjim intended, but remember that "penmanship" isn't limited to cursive. It's amazing how many people who are very intelligent (and educated) have block-printing that looks like the scribblings of a deranged kindergartener.

He's right. For the same reasons kids need to be able to do basic math, spelling, and grammar without a machine before being taught to use the machine, they need to be able to commit things to writing in a manner legible to others without having to use a machine, before learning to use the machine. Basics and underlying principles need to be taught first, then machines.

Of course, I also think that shorthand should be taught (as a note-taking skill for future classes and personal use, not for business purposes), so maybe I'm just a bit odd.

FYI - Probably 90% of my writing has been done in block-printing ever since I took a drafting class in high school, because it is very legible. But that was a drafting class that taught pencil-and-paper skills before teaching how to use the computer, and the teacher (who bore a rather strong resemblance to Ron Howard, and had an amusing tendency to whistle the Andy Griffith Show theme, but I digress) was pretty draconian about the printing on our drawings.

og said...

Once upon a time I had a neat, clean copperplate. I think that disapeared around the time I discovered the tricks Mr Happy could be taught to do. Now my cursive is illegible even to pharmacists. Different set of muscle memory, I guess.

I write somewhere on the order of 5-10,000 words a week, every single one typed on a computer. Cursive writing was critical when handwritten letters were a regular occurrence, but now I know maybe ten people who bother anymore. the time spent learning cursive could be spent teaching a language. You know, like Latin.

Anonymous said...

I well remember my cursive classes, and "Detour DeTar" (the meanest teacher in school) emphasizing in her own inimitable way that we WILL form our letters correctly!

Later, in the Navy, when readability was more important than beautiful writing, I was forced to block print--and wound up able to print faster than I could write cursive.

Today, now that my best composition implement is the keyboard, my attitude is more like "Cursive? Is that a southern European language?"

cap'n chumbucket

Lazy Bike Commuter said...

As another lefty, I have never written in cursive in my life. My teachers gave up on it, and that made me happy. They were never pleased with my handwriting, but the fact that I had straight As in everything real eased my pain.

"We think and speak in cursive style, not in the stop-start of printing." I am trying and failing to find any meaning at all in this sentence. Taking it literally, if I thought in cursive, I would have to think really slowly, because cursive is harder to read.

Sometimes when I'm really tired and falling asleep I think in QWERTY, eyes flick to the relative positions of the letter of every word on a keyboard.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Kids today! They show up to a job interview with unshined shoes and a celephane collar and mismatched studs. No spats! Can you imagine? I saw one applicant fail to tip his derby to a lady. I don't need to tell you he didn't get engaged at our mechanikal enterprise.

Tam said...


"Taking it literally, if I thought in cursive..."

I see where he's coming from, in that letters and syllables flow together and are broken by pauses into the chunks of sound we call words.

Anonymous said...

You folks have lots of good reasons to have schools not teach cursive writing.

Here's one good reason: It's been shown that kids that have NOT been taught cursive also cannot read it.

Maybe we don't have to have the schools hammer it home in the vain attempt to have the students write in perfect cursive, but they ought to be familiar enough with it to be able to decipher it when needed.

-- Bowser

Chas S. Clifton said...

I'm with Roberta: the italic or chancery cursive hands are easier to learn. (And yes, I am left-handed--as many of the commenters seem to be--and I learned both hands at different ages.)

I also taught myself to type as a kid on Dad's office typewriter. But I have indeed read that typing and writing by hand engage different brain pathways, so I make sure to do both. Brain exercise, y'know.

So my writing now is sort of a degenerate italic with a few half-uncial forms tossed in.

Anonymous said...

Jake (formerly Riposte3) - For the same reasons kids need to be able to do basic math, spelling, and grammar without a machine before being taught to use the machine, they need to be able to commit things to writing in a manner legible to others without having to use a machine, before learning to use the machine. Basics and underlying principles need to be taught first, then machines.

Need I say that I completely agree? Certainly my high school math teacher certainly did: calculators were verboten. Even my college professors wanted us to draw our plots with pencil, ruler and french curve even though computers and printers were available for the task.

Shane - Fight for something that has meaning on a greater level. not something that just looks nice. Bad penmanship doesn't make for a bad or stupid person -- just someone with bad penmanship.

I don't say that bad penmanship makes a bad person, but I do believe that penmanship is part of how a person presents himself to society. A chap can be brainy, hardworking and personable, but would people think so at first meeting if he looked like a slob, wrote like a dimwit, and every other word out of his mouth was "uh" or "like"? Just as we teach people to dress nicely for a job interview, I think it a good idea to teach them to speak and write well.

I suppose that this speaks to your comment about "something that has meaning on a greater level". WHAT do we want the schools to teach? Why do we send the little crumbcatchers there in the first place? Is it to develop their social skills? Their self-esteem? To learn to love Mother Gaia? Or is it to learn knowledge and skills that will fit them for a productive life in our society? And what are those skills? Cursive writing? Public speaking? Being able to write a book report, solve a quadratic equation, speak the rudiments of a foreign language, state the difference between a vertebrate and an invertebrate, recite the preamble to the Constitution, or build a birdhouse?

Cursive writing isn't the most important thing that a kid learns, but the fact that the schools can't even be bothered to teach kids to write in a semi-legible manner doesn't give me a good feeling about what they ARE teaching them.

Tam said...


Why must they write in a semi-legible manner, when it would be perfectly acceptable for them to print in a totally legible one?

Anonymous said...


I consider "write" and "print" to be interchangable unless it's clear that a machine is involved. While I have a bias (envy?) toward a nice cursive hand*, neat blockprinting of the sort that Jake (formerly Riposte3) describes, i.e. a clear draftsman's hand, is perfectly fine. Indeed, in some cases, blockprint is preferable to cursive as it is often easier to read. I recall that the Army was pretty militant about this. Our instructors showed us the written order to the Light Brigade; beautiful cursive that was utterly unintelligible.


(*) I hasten to note that my normal writing - cursive AND block print - looks as if I blindfold myself and clench the pen between my teeth while I have a bad crick in my neck.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't think it matters.

I mean, like, ya know, its not like the youts of taday culd spelll or put tagetha a cintince with, like, thots in sekwence to make 1 ofthem, U no, pointss.
Or deel withh , like, logik, like the occupyers did wen thay sed the riche peeps kept thim frum gettin jobs an stuph.

Tam said...

Anon 11:30,

Don't be a h8r.

Anonymous said...

Tam 11:45

Not h8, really, more pity.
Sometimes you know there's a thought in there, they just can't find a way to express it. At least, not in a way it could be understood.

David Neylon said...

Cursive is an absolute necessity. Have you ever seen the mess that's made every time you lift the point of the quill from the paper. Without cursive you're going to end up with ink blots everywhere.

Divemedic said...

Teaching cursive in elementary school makes as much sense as teaching Latin or the use of a slide rule. They are nice to know, but teaching typing at that age is probably a far more relevant skill.

Latin is a dead language, as is attic Greek and Sumarian. Cursive is rapidly heading that way. Education is needed to children learn to operate as functional adults, and the ability to type is a more useful skill than is the ability to read and write cursive.

Drang said...

Anyone who has ever seen my handwriting will a) Know why they call it "CURSive", and b) Deny that the Detroit Public School System ever taught such a thing.

The points made about different methods of putting words on paper/screen effecting different neural pathways, differently, are well-taken. I suspect (based on immersion in Asian languages) (well, ONE Asian language) that the language you speak--including such minutiae as sentence structure and grammar--impacts how you think.
Using an alphabet as opposed to a syllabary or ideograms probably matters, too. (Firefox doesn't think "syllabary" is a word...) I've no way to prove that, and no money for a grant to study it. No doubt, such a study would be un-PC, unless it could prove that the Anglosphere is Evil because it speaks English, of whatever variety...

Tam said...


And a much stronger argument could be made for at least the rudiments of Latin (and maybe Greek.)

John A said...

Cursive may look nice, but then so do illuminated manuscripte. And I suspect the first Ancient Greek kids who did not lift the stylus from the wax-covered board used to practice writing got in trouble.
Even I cannot read my cursive script, which looks like I have an advanced medical degree (cheap shot?). Never could, except the school year I cheated - put down a ruler, write, then go back and add the descenders - and got the only passing marks I ever had until the teacher saw the ruler.

mikee said...

Stick with cursive, you Luddites. I'm going for Gothic, using a right-handed goose quill and squid ink.

Whilst in college, I used the VAX to compose a printed essay for my 18th Century English Class, rather than a typewriter, because I started it 35 minutes before class and I could more speedily correct typos on the monitor than using an IBM Selectric. Finishing it about 2 minutes before class started, I hit PRINT and watched it come out all in CAPS, despite looking properly formatted on the screen. The teacher laughed and laughed and yet gave me an A for content. As long as legibility is retained, formatting is less important than content.

I was taught to read by phonics records and my mom at 5, taught to write cursive in 2nd semester, 1st grade by Sister Mary Concilia, and taught to type by Mrs. Morris, an aged Black female teacher at my public High School. These were three high quality women who made me channel my minimal skills into usable functionality.

NotClauswitz said...

Who put the curse in cursive?
It's all about injecting some kind of militaristic discipline in the kiddy curriculum and breaking the Will of socially-dominant Jocks, to make them subservient and pliable.

Silver the Evil Chao said...

Cursive is one of the most utterly useless things I ever had to learn in school. Hours upon hours in elementary school, learning how my much my right hand hurts when I spend hours at a repetitive task...for what? My handwriting certainly didn't improve, and I never had to use cursive in middle school or high school.

Screw it, have both block writing and typing taught in schools. Typing is actually frigging relevant to the real world now and normal writing is easier to read than cursive, anyway.

Rob K said...

Were I an employer, reviewing the applications of prospective employees, all applications filled out in cursive would automatically go in the reject bin.

I have never, in all the years since I finished the classes where I was taught cursive, had any need at all for it. When I've needed to write anything by hand, printing has served me perfectly well. The time wasted teaching me cursive handwriting would have been far more usefully invested in Latin and Greek.

Just My 2¢ said...

That's funny!
I'm an engineer and I had to learn blueprint lettering 35 years ago. I print everything. The only thing I write in cursive is my signature. My hands don't remember how to write anything else.

Joe in PNG said...

In hindsight, I fell sorry for my elementary teachers for all their wasted class hours trying to get my younger, more aspie self to be able to write cursive, or anything, in a readable manner.

Typing in jr. high, and Drafting in college were much much more productive. In fact, all my teachers celebrated when I got my first typewriter.

Mikael said...

About the most I can manage is a semi-cursive-ish signature, when I really really try.

I'm a southpaw as well, and it just doesn't really flow very well left-handed.

We had some cursive teaching in school, in like 2nd grade, teacher gave up on me pretty quick.

I had some teachers praise my precise (print) writing in junior high though.

global village idiot said...

The best reason for learning to write cursive is learning to read it.

I'm a land surveyor, and despite the fact that everything I do in the office and the field is in block caps (field notes, drafting etc.), yet I must know how to read it.

My work requires that I do a lot of my own research in county courthouses. Records before about the 60s (and even much later in many counties) was entered into record books in cursive handwriting - some very beautiful, some utilitarian and simple, some barely legible. Yet I am able to read all this.

Rendering records in digital form has made much of this work unnecessary, but we still must go back in time quite a bit to trace old records - counties on limited budgets will digitize their records only so far back in time. I'd be unable to do my job if I didn't know how to read it, and its dissimilarity to block printing or even typeset characters requires being versant in it.


Takashi Sheffield said...

Cursive writing is the bayonet training of elementary school.

Tam said...

I'm kinda wondering how many people who read this post either knew, or took the time to find out, who Austin Palmer was, and what was the significance of the date of his death.

I'm sure those who did could write an explanation in a lovely Spencerian hand... ;)

MikeyB said...

The result of three years "Handwriting Drills" from Sister Rose Michael (of the Dominican Order) who wielded her 18 inch ruler with wicked precision has resulted in my 60 year old script being called "girlie" because it is so neat. Hmmmp. The kids nowadays are just jealous because I can read my signature! Fu&#ing kids!

Brad K. said...

There is a theory that learning calculus, even when you will never ever use the subject in your lifetime, is important. It opens you to additional ways to solve problems.

I think penmanship in block and cursive hands have more impact than simply getting another copy of the same old lessons on *your* assignment paper.

Learning the difference between standard and my-first-try letter forms is a major step in learning and problem solving -- using feedback. Learning to improve what you are doing. Cursive should be considered a leap from simple communications to art. Just as poetry can be considered "higher density information" than common prose, a cursive hand adds an expression of appearance, implying respect and a gift of beauty in addition to the textual content of the missive.

Latin and Greek would provide fundamental understandings of some of the origins of modern English and common communications today. My cousin had a class in rhetoric in high school, I have often wondered if it was a subject I should have taken, had it ever been available. My school was more "modern". Gaack.

JFK back in the 1960s defined a new "preferred" path in education, that emphasized getting lots of engineers and scientists out their to build a new space rocket, or whatever was needed to put people on the moon. So-called "modern" education was overhauled by all the government money.

Today schools count "success" by the number of students accepted into college. As I recall, mandatory education was started to produce a minimally educated voter. Thus, reading and writing to understand and exchange opinions and reports, enough math to follow a budget, even the US Government's budget (ha!). Civics and government, state and national history. Most of these have been compromised to suit more "modern" agendas, including deliberate social engineering that is intended to disparage parental values and lifestyles in favor of whatever flavor the education establishment is pushing this semester.

I would consider cursive writing an art class, and place it in importance above sports, above calculus, and just barely below US History. It isn't about getting textual content onto paper or billboard, it is about growth of spirit. Even if you never again use it in life.

Disclosure: I got a D+ in penmanship in 6th grade, the last time my penmanship was graded. I took a typing class in High School, but never really learned how until college, on a key punch machine.

And anyone that things cursive writing is a painful way to express yourself, try using mark-sense IBM cards with a #2 pencil. Punched cards without the key punch, and consistent pencil smears for punches.

the pawnbroker said...

Could there be a more ironic snippet of snark than the one at 8:10?

Myself, having spent 40 years doing industrial reports, pawn tickets, and 4473's in all block caps, it's the only way I write now.

And I agree that an elective discipline based on obsolete business requirements and sadism (lefties must write right!?!), is absurd, and a thousand times more so when forced by gov mandate.

But I would be interested to know how those uniquely American factors paralleled the learning curve, as it were, in 1970's West German schools?

Because that commenter ain't no burger flipper, and his written hand is a primary and cherished element of his craft. Is it art for its own sake, or is it a vital component of his product? And why?

Roberta X said...

Much as I enjoy handwriting -- I returned to cursive a little over a year ago -- the 19th-century need to have "a fair hand" was slowly eroded by the typewriter and obliterated by the computer.

Cursive is splendid and wonderful and the various forms -- Egyptian Demotic, Russian, even Ancient Roman and Arabic -- all start to resemble one another. But it's redundant. It'd make a nice elective class for interested students but the rest of 'em can learn to print well, type and text.

(Demotic, interestingly, shows the same kinds of individual variation modern cursive does. Looking at a collection of examples is one of those freaky shortcuts-in-history experiences.)

Anonymous said...

Put me down in the pro-cursive camp. While I was taught it, I never did get the hang or cursive "r's", and I have always felt the lack.

I think that the overly standardized Palmer method is responsible for a lot of frustrated third graders - if they would loosen up a little, and teach each student something that works for him, then they would achieve a better result. Unfortunately, that is a full time job for teachers who are caring and can give each student individual attention, and we only have part-time educators to do the work - the rest of the time they are doing political indoctrination and other vital work.

As an interesting aside, I once heard that there were some experiments evaluating the handwriting of convicts (graphology?) analyzing their personalities, teaching them to write better, which had the side effect of making their personalities change for the better. (I know - my BS detector went off on that one when I heard it in the nineties. Still, if it worked, wouldn't it be cool?)

Lewis said...

I can no longer write in English. (Here I am using the print/write distinction between block and cursive.) I used to be able to write, not the finest hand, but a decent one, in English. Boot camp, and the military in general, did wonders for my printing, but the military was death for my cursive.

When I learned Russian, I started off block printing and then moved into cursive. Now, however, whenever I try to write (cursive) in English, I find myself dropping in the equivalent Cyrillic characters from time to time. That'll get people to scratch their heads, when contemplating a missive that suddenly goes all Russian on them.

Justthisguy said...

I do all my handwriting in cursive. We learned by the Zaner-Bloser method, in third grade. As I went through the upper grades, it seemed that typing was a low-class thing for regimented office girls, and was taught as such.

Fortunately, my Mom, who had made her living with a typewriter and collected old ones, had me take the non-regimented "enrichment" touch-typing class in the summer. It was neat; we could wear shorts, take breaks when we felt like it, etc. We all wanted to be there, and to learn.

When I went off to college, my folks bought me a typewriter. I think I only had the lid off it once or twice in five years. I went to an engineering school (Ga. Tech) and all of our essays, exams, etc. were done in longhand by everyone.

Drafting and Surveying taught me to write neatly in block letters, but I despise to use them just to communicate.

On the job application question: I'm just the opposite, and the cursive ones would go to the top of the stack.

P.s. The blogspot WV is always in cursive.

benEzra said...

"it seems to me that a reasonably good hand is as useful to a person's success as a reasonably good speaking ability. It doesn't help one's career prospects when he can't legibly fill out a job application."

The sorts of jobs one can get by filling out a paper form in cursive can just as easily be gotten by filling out a paper form via neat printing. Thing is, there aren't many of those anymore; almost everyone these days wants digital resumes, submitted electronically.

"Need I say that I completely agree? Certainly my high school math teacher certainly did: calculators were verboten. Even my college professors wanted us to draw our plots with pencil, ruler and french curve even though computers and printers were available for the task."

I went to a school like that, unfortunately. They even taught us to do square roots on paper, and to use paper trig tables (in the mid to late 1980's!). My sister, on the other hand, went to a school that embraced calculators, graphing calculators, and computers.

Guess which one of us was doing college prep advanced math by the time she graduated, and which one of us never got that far because of the months and years wasted learning the Old Ways.

My sister went on to double major in mathematics and nuclear engineering, and I got a degree in English instead. I still resent having been held back by the Old School like that. Yeah, I can still find square roots if I'm ever shipwrecked on a deserted island without a calculator, but she knows how to do the stuff that calculators *can't* do.

Learning archaic math and writing methods may build character, but learning useful things builds character too, and is a damn sight more useful, methinks. And if you want to instill knowledge for the sake of knowledge, literature/history/geography is a lot more mind-broadening than learning cursive, IMNSHO.

jetaz said...

Wow. All these comments are really making me feel young. I have never had any classes in penmanship, and all papers longer than about 500 words were required to be typed. If they weren't typed you failed.

But, I have gone out of my way to learn a legible print; if I am having to write it by hand, then having it be readable is pretty darn important

Justthisguy said...

I'm with Marko; If I had my druthers, I'd do all of my writing with a real nib pen. It makes cursive fun. We were forbidden to use ball-points when I was learning cursive.

I do miss the old cheap Sheaffer cartridge-fed pens. I think I still have two or three, but the cartridges, if you can find them, are horrendously expensive. I refill them with one of Mom's old insulin syringes.

Will said...

Left-handed Aspie here. Early on, school teachers (late 50's) tried to get me to write with my right hand, but I refused. Learned to write with the paper and/or my wrist at lots of angles, to work with various desks and notebooks.

Never told anyone, but I taught myself to write right-handed before I was 10. Didn't care for it. Had no creative or emotional connection with my right hand. About 15 years ago, I took an hour intro flight in a sailplane. When the pilot in the rear realized I was using my left hand on the stick, he had me switch hands. Took all the fun out of it. Felt about as interesting as driving a Bug on the freeway. I never went back.

Justthisguy said...

Will, did you ever consider doing what Leonardo did, and write from right to left? Were the "normals" to complain, you could just have told them, "Git a mirror!"

A lot of airplanes today require the guy on the port side to fly left-handed, what with the side sticks and all. You might have an advantage in that kind of situation.

jimbob86 said...

I don't care that they don't teach them to write in cursive: they have bigger fish to fry, as the kids in third grade now can't read, spell, tie their shoes, read an analog clock or make change.... all stuff I learned to do in first grade.

Hell, there was a grown man (or he purported to be)on TFL today that could not figure out how to read the scale on a Lee powder scale....

Anonymous said...

I write cursive and draw printing, so I can communicate faster and more coherently in cursive. And I can read older handwriting, something a number of my colleagues (20s into mid 30s) have great difficulty doing. To me cursive is a discipline and a way to reinforce basic language skills for those who learn by doing. Did I enjoy learning it? No, because I have a short term memory problem, which is why I write cursive but draw printing (as in, my mind and hand print letters the same way I draw pictures of things). Do the middle and high school students I work with suffer from being launched into typing and word processing without learning basic English grammar and composition? Oh yeah!

Agreed with all that schools need to be teaching reading, writing (composition and handwriting) and basic math, then history, geography and government. Full disclosure: I write with either hand.


Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Full disclosure: I write with either hand."

I wish I could! Unfortunately, my teachers made me pick one or the other, so now if I write with my left hand it looks like a first or second grader's handwriting (about the time they made me choose). I'm still pissed about that!

For those lefties who have had issues with handwriting: It's fairly well known nowadays, especially among the fountain pen aficionados, that the educational establishment has never been very well disposed towards the left handed, and that the usual methods of teaching lefties to write (curling the hand around to write from above, is the most notorious) are simply wrong. (I know I had one teacher try to force me to not angle the paper the correct way when I would write with my left hand.) That doesn't even count the very common practice of forcing a left handed person to write right handed. It's probably only the last 50 or 60 years that anyone in education really cared, and the general attitude before that was "left is wrong."