The Cursive Curse

I am sitting here in my big, manly, comfortable black leather poppa chair in my living room, admiring my Lady Wonder Wench’s curves. No, not her sweater curves. The curves in her handwriting. She’s working on her new novel, and she likes to write in handwriting. Cursive they call it. It is used almost exclusively by highly evolved human females. My lady wrote a beautiful blog about Cursive just the other day. When she finished it, she closed her computer and gave me a smile like I first saw on the face of the girl who sat in front of me in the 4th grade at St. Gregory’s grammar school in Brooklyn. Her name was Kathleen McMullen. She was very smart. Every time Sister Mary Knucklebuster asked a question, Kathleen raised her hand with the correct answer. I couldn’t stand her. She had pigtails. I dipped them in the inkwell every time she leaned back.

Louie-Louie Generation folks are the only people on the planet who will remember pens that used ink. Ball point pens were very expensive in those days. We used ink pens at St. Gregory’s. They were called fountain pens because you filled them with ink. Inkwells were holes in the desk where you kept a bottle of ink. Ink was what you used in your pen, and inkwells were where you dipped Kathleen McMullen’s pigtails at every opportunity. I am convinced that Kathleen McMullen skipped right past printing. The day she was born, she probably wrote a very lady like thank you note on fancy stationary to her mom and dad…in cursive. The only time I ever heard Sr. M. Knucklebuster purr, was one afternoon while she was watching Kathleen McMullen’s execution of what was called the Palmer Method of Cursive writing. I’m pretty sure that Palmer person was a woman.

Guys print. Except for those few very highly evolved guys who become doctors or registered pharmacists, we print. We don’t do cursive. We print so we can make ourselves understood with other guys. Printing is strong and simple. Like men. Cursive flounces along, all smart and sexy and curvy like women. We print. They curse.

Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast.

1-    Why does Big Louie say the human race should know better?

2-    What do you have 30 Billion of ?

3-    What do I have in common with elephants?

Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.

Printing and Cursive make English look like two different languages. And English is complicated enough. It’s actually three different languages. The printed kind, the Cursive kind and the spoken kind. The spoken kind goes off in all directions. Talk about complicated. How are we supposed to know that a fijord is not a Scandinavian car…and a myth is not a female moth…and mosquitoes are not people who live in Moscow. And Brooklyn English is even more complicated. If you see a word that’s spelled D I V A, you would be excused if a New Yawker thought we were talking about somebody who jumps into a swimming pool.

By the way, I remember hating all girls in the fourth grade, but most of all I couldn’t stand Kathleen McMullen. Then, in the fifth grade something happened.  I still hated girls, but for some reason, I began thinking that if I ever stopped hating girls, I’d probably stop hating Kathleen McMullen first. 

And I don’t know what kind of Summer camp Kathleen went to after fifth grade, but when she came back in September for sixth grade, there were drastic changes in her, which produced very drastic changes in my attitude toward girls in general, and Kathleen in particular. Hormones started howling.

Sometimes howling hormones are funny. Sometimes they’re not. There’s a story about when they’re not in the Night Connections 3 Personal Audio CD. It’s called “Growing Up Fast.” Something like what happens in the story happened in my family recently. It’s tough. But so far so good.

If you like “Growing Up Fast”, you can just keep the current podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just download it from the Night Connections 3 icon on the home page.

Cursive is well named as far as I’m concerned. It’s a curse to me, and to most guys. But listen to what my Lady wrote in her blog about it:

Cursive is the lovely hand writing in long sweeping curls and flourishes, curlicues and flounces, creative forms and fascinating comments that has existed for – oh, several hundred years at least. It is the foundation of the books and pamphlets, the speeches and decrees, the cries for help, the songs and the letters, the stories, the truths and the falsehoods … the everything that came before.

It is what we were before the printing press, before radio and television, before books and computers, before mankind was so arrogant that we forgot how to pick up a pen and just let the words flow.

Cursive is the music that fills out words and makes them appear, at least, to glow with beauty. Cursive brings life to the nominally dead alphabet of our language and grows more intense as it moves forward, hauling us all after it in spite of ourselves, breathing in the glory and the excitement it creates.

She’s sitting over there writing her book…in her loops and curvy cursive…and smiling at me…with that Lady Wonder Wenchy smile. I remember the first time I saw that smile… for just a moment, English became my second language. I would have started speaking in tongues…but I couldn’t get mine to work.

And ever since then, I have really admired her curves. All of them.

One Response to “The Cursive Curse”

  1. aliasJean Fox says:

    I teach cursive writing — (and printing, among other things). I’m curvy but not necessarily the kind people like to look at … but I digress —-

    English is the only written language (that I know of) that has two ways of writing — one is printing, the other is flairs of cursive strokes. I like to flair because it’s freedom (Right on LWW!). It’s art. It’s creative. It’s being unique. I like unique.

    LWW – the most unique person in your life — and aint’ it grand???