The case of illegible handwriting

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INTROSPECTION

When you have been endowed with a very good appearance, an extraordinary personality and intelligence, you can literally get away with illegible handwriting. Unfortunately, I do not own any of the above. So, for me, it’s embarrassment galore.

Yes, I have passable looks, an eccentric personality, and less than genius intelligence. And if that weren’t enough, I have extremely bad handwriting.

Imagine attaching a pen/pencil – thinking that would be quite a feat – and laying it down on a sheet of paper. The scratches on the paper that the ant can make are what my handwriting looks like.

I have nothing against ants, after octopus and jellyfish, they are third on my list of favorite animals. Others on my list include the orthotomus sutorius (common tailor) – these should be replaced by the parrot as a pet in Pakistan as the tailors give us grief; and torquigener albomaculosus (white-spotted pufferfish).

I usually take it on the tangent, and in case you think I have a lot of time, I don’t need to watch so many shows yet and keep up to date with BTS. It’s just that recently I tried to read my own writings.

I happened to be invited as a speaker on a panel and as I sat listening to the other speakers, I started jotting down dots that I thought I would use in turn to speak. I had seen many intellectuals do this on talk shows; they take notes and then refer to the points they noted.

As the saying goes, an imitator is not original (it’s not a real saying, I just made it up).

When it was my turn to speak, I looked at my paper and the scribbles laughed at me. All the weird swirls, curves, and lines that were supposed to be letters laughed at me as they danced across my page. To my horror, I had no idea what these strange patterns were, I didn’t know what they were, and for an entire eternity there was silence. A few seconds, really.

The case of illegible handwriting

It’s a good thing that I talk a lot (I won’t say well because I’m humble) and that I was saved from embarrassment, and that I spoke with a lot of passion and that I even was applauded. But I couldn’t let go of the awkward feeling every time my eyes fell on the squiggles.

If you think doctors have bad handwriting, just think I’m an MBBS – at least chemists can read doctors’ handwriting. Even I can’t read my handwriting and it doesn’t help when you try to scold your kids to improve their handwriting. You can’t even practice what you preach!

But as the song says “…whatever you do, don’t blame yourself”. And I also have an excuse.

It all started when I was born left-handed and my overly superstitious extended family had issues with nature. Claims that left-handed people were not normal – even bad – and that would cause a lot of problems in the future, like who would marry a left-handed girl. It was like being left-handed was a harbinger of sadness and doom when, in fact, it was just a rarity in a right-handed world.

The case of illegible handwriting

Some experts claim that “both sides of the brain tend to communicate more effectively” in left-handed people and that they “may have superior language and verbal ability.” Even if this study is not conclusive, I want to believe it. This makes my writing problem more sophisticated.

Another thing I can blame on my bad handwriting is that I’ve been using the computer for over 25 years. I write and edit on a keyboard and rarely use a pen or pencil. This only added to my inability to write clearly.

Over the years I’ve gotten so used to using the keyboard that I can even type when I’m not looking at the keyboard – this fascinates my young nieces and nephews. They sit with me and ask me to type words without looking and I get lots of ohhhsss and aaahs of appreciation from the kids. It’s an ego boost.

The more I used the keyboard to write, the less I learned to write with pen/pencil on paper. During this time, I took several exams and found it quite difficult to write.

The case of illegible handwriting

It’s time-consuming and tedious enough to make my writing more readable so reviewers don’t throw my paper away in frustration. At the end of the article, which is less than three hours long, my hand would be sore and stiff and I would have to keep stopping and resting my hand.

Typing on a computer allows auto-correction, which leads to another weakness – spelling. You tend to rely on autocorrect so much that you start forgetting how to spell words. It takes a lot of effort to spell correctly. All the long hours of learning spelling in school are wasted once you get addicted to autocorrect.

My writing sample will cause a lot of problems for writing experts because my writing varies within the same document. Experts base their opinions on the direction in which different letters turn or how the dots are placed on the i and j or how the s curves or how the letter l is written. I’m going to prove to be quite a challenge because my writing reveals a mixture of all of this.

I can write letters that bend left and right, and also stand up straight. There are curls and swirls, with dots all over. My script is enough to confuse any writing expert. Those who determine personalities through writing will also get tired of trying to guess my personality traits.

They base their conclusions on the size of someone’s handwriting – small letters indicate that the person is shy, studious and meticulous. Great handwriting reveals that the person is outgoing, bolder, and loves attention. Yes, some parts of my handwriting are small and some parts are larger, which means that I’m not just a left-hander turned right-hander, but also a complex personality. Outgoing and shy.

But I’m lucky because more and more people are using smartphones and we have a generation of people with bad handwriting who are used to typing on their phone keyboard while chatting. I will blend in with the rest.


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