Thursday, May 13, 2010

Following in my footsteps. Sort of.

Because Bill Gates had not invented MS Word yet, penmanship was very important in my childhood. We spent hours practicing and perfecting letters, and just when we got them all down and legible, they threw cursive at us. My parents and grandparents were even more old-school and demanding than my teachers, so I was treated to extra practice at home by way of Palmer Penmanship workbooks. I remember a particularly annoying one with a rabbit on it, and I hate bunnies still to this very day.

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 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.


  1. Oh, my gosh...this gives me shivers.

    It's all in the genes, isn't it?


  2. As a kid I always wanted fancy, slanty, curly letters that looked all arty and grown up but I could never do it. Mine always were straight like they had a stick up their ass. We didn't learn much cursive either, it was all about printing. I still write like a ten year old. Damn it.

    However my mother's writing is similar to mine so forgery's never been a problem. :)

  3. Oh goodness! I am a forger too. Guess i should be keeping an extra eye on my little people just in case I passed on the forger gene.

  4. Meg will have no trouble with my signature. It's been described as "serial killeresque."



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