Even after my teachers had marked up my work, it was then under scrutiny at home. My dad would point out if my letters leaned backwards, my mom would show me how all the lower case letters should be the same height. I eventually figured out it was a giant game of Copy the Shapes While Paying Perfect Attention to the Spaces Between Them and suddenly, all was good. I could write exactly like the loopy letters in the Palmer book, or exactly like George Washington, or exactly like my 4th grade teacher, or exactly like my grandmother, if she was the one who'd be looking.
I could write exactly like freakin' anybody. I realized it Friday, October 17, 1980. Our class was headed on a field trip. Everyone except my friend Connie; she'd left her permission slip at home. The wheels in my prepubescent mind started turning. I thought back to a store counter where I'd seen Connie's mom write a check. I'd noticed the simple way she wrote her middle initial, but that it was larger than her first and last names, it struck me how unflourished her writing was. Thus, my first forgery.
I generally didn't use my skills for evil - an excused absence here, a permission slip there...and my favorite...an afternoon in April when I was called to my high school office to find my mom with her tax returns. "Sign Daddy's name, and get back to class," she said under her breath.
So when I found this in the 12 year old's pocket, I just had to smile a proud smile.
"please alow (kid) on the Bus with luke. I am unable to pick him up this thurs. Thank you."
And then point out to him just how shitty his efforts were. First of all, date the thing. And seriously, you can't spell "allow?" You capitalize "Bus" but not "Luke" or "Thursday?" And what the hell kind of lame excuse for a signature is that? What does it even say?
I obviously have a lot of work to do with this kid. I'm getting him that stupid bunny book this weekend. And a nice box of Crane note cards for his backpack. Nobody forges my name on notebook paper, man.