‘You may not be able to read a doctor’s prescription, but you’ll notice his bills are neatly typewritten.’ Earl Wilson.

24 Mar

Did you know that handwriting can indicate over 5,000 different personality traits? I didn’t even know there were over 5,000 different personality traits, but handwriting analysts maintain that the size and shape of your letters, the spacing between your words, and even the pressure you apply to the page when writing, all signify different personal characteristics.  How you dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s can reveal much more about you than you might wish to be known . . .

But you know, this may not be much of a worry for us in the future.  I mean, what happens when people stop hand-writing altogether? How will they (the ubiquitous ‘they’) analyse all those thousands of personality traits then?  ‘Never going to happen’ you might say.  Perhaps.  But many schools no longer teach cursive (‘running-writing’) to their students and schools in Finland have become the first to completely phase out handwriting lessons at all in favour of typing . . .

At first I was surprised by that . . . but then I thought perhaps they had seen some of the handwriting that is prevalent these days and decided they were fighting a losing battle . . .

I admit I have been grumbling (loudly, often, and to anyone who will listen) about the sad decline of penmanship and the depressing illegibility of many of the handwritten documents that have come across my desk of late.  

Please bear with me while I have a little ‘vent’ . . .

In 2015 a new initiative was introduced in the education sector in Australia whereby each student enrolling in a nationally accredited course was required to obtain a ‘Unique Student Identifier’ (USI).  This USI was a 10 digit computer-generated mix of letters and numbers, individual to each student, and no-one would be able to enrol without one.  This USI would (eventually) be used to create a secure online database of all student training records.

Sounds fair enough, doesn’t it?  Sure.  Why not?  Except that now, two years down the track, I spend half my working days peering at incoming enrolment documents, desperately trying to correctly decipher these (handwritten) USIs so they can be entered into my own student data system.  ‘Is that a 2 or a z?  . . .   or a B or an 8? . . .  a 7 or a T?’   Without the context of a sentence to ‘guess’ at a poorly written letter or figure, it is often impossible to tell.

(Added to my aggravation is that my computer could care less.  If I don’t get that USI exactly right, it won’t verify it.  Period.)

In my less fraught moments, I get it. I really do.  Advances in technology have meant that many people don’t need to hand-write anything much any more so it’s hardly surprising that these skills have taken a back seat to typing (or texting).

But . . . don’t you think that’s a bit of a shame?

I am not completely naive.  Technology is here to stay and we will all need the skills to deal with itbut do we have to entirely forgo one skill to take up another?

Setting aside for the moment the fact that trying to read poor handwriting is increasingly driving this humble office worker further into madness, handwriting is, as the analysts point out, the outward manifestation of an individual personality.  Is that not, in itself, reason enough to nurture the skill?

Don’t you think it would be great to see all the world’s fabulous individual personalities reflected in wonderful, bold, beautiful, creative, colourful (and legible—please let it be legible) handwriting?  I do.

What about you?


Posted by on March 24, 2017 in Uncategorized


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9 responses to “‘You may not be able to read a doctor’s prescription, but you’ll notice his bills are neatly typewritten.’ Earl Wilson.

  1. stevetalbot51

    March 28, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Was hearing things again today – need to get my ears checked out 🙂


  2. stevetalbot51

    March 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Me? I’ve always thought of handwriting as a practical tool rather than a creative process – but that is just my left sided brain speaking.
    But what I do know is that if all the handwritten forms that came across your desk were legible, then there would be much less swearing – and the office would be a quieter (and much less interesting) place 🙂


    • sallyinthehaven

      March 26, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      I don’t know what you mean by ‘swearing’. You must be hearing things . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Judy

    March 25, 2017 at 10:14 am

    We are dinosaurs I guess, but literate ones! Yesterday, I was taking some notes as a tech (on the phone) fromTAFE was telling me how to navigate a website…he said ‘Click on…..’ ‘No,’ I said ‘I am actually writing what you are telling me.’ ‘How do you do that?’ he asked!!! We laughed about it, but inside I felt very sad as well as happy that I lived through the ‘dinosaur’ years!

    Hope my punctuation is up to par in the above missive Sal 😇

    Liked by 1 person

  4. C. C. Cedras

    March 24, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Two examples that allow me to jump on this bandwagon, the first is benign. I have a VERY bright young man, almost-senior at university who helps me with heavy chores on my property. I make lists of projects for him, and recently he had trouble decifering the list because I’d written in (very neat, legible) cursive instead of printing. I was shocked.

    The second alarmed me a couple of years ago when I got a very nice, handmade Christmas card from one of my nieces signed by each of her 5 (6?!) children, the eldest of whom was then 12-13 years old. All of the children’s signatures was equivalent to that of a pre-schooler — barely legible printing. I have no words.

    I don’t care how dependent we/the world has become on computers and technology. There are still essential and very significant aspects that will require us to communicate in handwriting. We are doomed.


    • sallyinthehaven

      March 24, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Scary I agree. When I worked in the offices at a University years ago I was horrified at how many students doing BAs could, literally, not write properly (and forget about knowing how to use grammar or punctuation). I have never been to college or university but I am pretty sure I could have corrected most of their English papers myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. S. A. Young

    March 24, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I’m with you!I remember learning cursive on that special lined paper and being so proud of myself when I mastered a letter, which led to my name and then whole sentences. It saddens me that hand-writing is such a lost art.


    • sallyinthehaven

      March 24, 2017 at 10:57 am

      And it also makes me wonder how many drawy, sketchy, paintery people we will lose if they are not able to begin their creative passions by randomly doodling on their school workbooks . . .

      Liked by 1 person


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