t was Mr. Winkler’s ninth grade civics class when I adopted my writing style. Well, the word “style” is really doing a lot of work in that sentence. Maybe a better word is stomp or trudge. My handwriting is not good. And, thanks to computers and keyboards and me losing pens like they’re dark hairs around my temples, I don’t have time to practice that often.
I am a time management junkie and back in the day, I would keep these beautifully kept day planners filled with notes and tasks and appointments. They would be in the style of writing I learned in Mr. Winkler’s class as he would meticulously fill his chalkboard from tip to tail with notes about the founding of Missouri (August, 1821) and whose side Missouri fought for in the Civil War. (Hint: The losing side.)
He would inscribe these notes for every class using all capital block lettering, that I simply adopted as my handwriting from that day forward. The problem is that it’s not a quick style of writing because you’re using the BIG letters all of the time. This would be the larger of the two lines on those Big Chief tablets you trained on in first grade.
But it stuck for some reason. And today, as I write out my notes to my wife to remember to buy deli turkey or when I scribble a note to my son to please mow the lawn before the neighbors have us ticketed, it’s in that large capital style. Like a keyboard that has its CAPS LOCK key stuck.
I learned cursive in elementary school, like many of us at our age did. But that is now long gone. I learned normal writing in school as well, and during check-writing class, we would scribble these One Thousand, Seventy-Four, and no/00 on checks. But years of neglect and fewer and fewer opportunities to write with pens or pencils meant that my handwriting would stick and only deteriorate over time.
Why is this story important? Well, don’t take it from me. Take it from the county election board. If you have to log a provisional ballot this year in case you forget your driver’s license or your voting card, they will compare your handwriting and signature to ones they have on file. That signature could’ve been made 20 years ago when you got your license or signed a deed on a home. And it certainly could’ve deteriorated over time. If those signatures don’t match up, they’ll throw your ballot out.
So, you have two choices, practice your signature like you did when you were 20 or make sure to have your proper materials before you go vote. Either way you do it….