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No Awards for Bad Handwriting

Handwriting (FILE)

The start of the school year brings back a lot of memories, good and bad. Some of the bad ones for me involve just how bad my handwriting was, and is.

When Harmon Killebrew passed away, former Twin Torii Hunter remembered how Harmon once told him to sign his name so people could read it. It would be more memorable. I met Harmon a few times, and when I see his autograph there’s no question about whose signature it is.

I can remember being in either first or second grade, before we learned to write longhand, and my teacher writing in my report card “We would like to improve his printing.”

And this was before any sort of handwriting came into play, because when it did, I was terrible. And I still am.

I’m really my father’s son on this one. My late father used to say of his own handwriting, “After it sits awhile, even I can’t read it.” Dad, I’m right there with you.

Now, I’ve known reporters who take notes in shorthand (something I never learned). And I’ve even seen someone who left out the vowels and went back to fill in the blanks later.

But as a radio journalist for the past 36 years, I still rely on my audio recorder (we don’t use “tape recorders” now, but that’s for another time). When I take notes, I’m usually making references to where I can find it on the recording when I go back to write my story.

I could use arthritis as  an excuse, because it’s a factor. But even the healthiest of hands wouldn’t help me. I know it, and I’ve learned to live with it.

And thank goodness no one ever–ever–asks for my autograph. I can see it now: I sign something (unlikely, but stay with me here), the autograph-seeker walks away and five minutes later they look at and say, “Now who was that again?”

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