LET’S TALK: The long-lost art of the longhand

So … if you are going to be a bank robber, especially one who conveys his intention to rob a bank via a written note, make sure you have good penmanship.

The “weird news” branch of the Huffington Post recently reported on an Englishman whose intention to separate a mutual financial institution from at least some of its money has become kablooey because tellers could not decipher the demand that ‘he had written for the occasion.

The event actually happened in March, according to Lee Moran’s August 13 article, and was revealed on August 13 by authorities.

“Retired Alan Slattery, 67, fled empty-handed from a Nationwide Building Society branch in Eastbourne… after employees struggled to read his message demanding that they hand over money.” , writes Moran.

“Police shared a photo of the note on Twitter. If you look closely you can read, “Your screen won’t turn off what I’ve got, just give the 10’s and the 20’s. Think about other customers.” “My observation: The note appears to be a hastily scribbled combination of printed and cursive upper case letters and printed and cursive lower case letters, and appears to read: To all customers.”

History then reveals that later in March, Slattery was able to cede a bank for 2,400 pounds, roughly $ 3,000, in his hometown – but bombed again in another robbery in April. Maybe he typed his note for the second robbery attempt?

Anyhoo, police caught up with Slattery, who pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery in July and was sentenced to six years.

First thought: listen, if you’re in retirement age you might not want to rob banks … which, at least to me, seems like a hobby best left to youth. Second thought: if this guy is 67, he’s too old to fall victim to typing, texting and emoticons, which have all but replaced handwriting.

These days, about the only times that any of us have the opportunity to write anything by hand is when we fill out and sign forms, pay bills and, if we have the old school spirit, send thank you notes and respond to invitations. And even form signing can be done electronically, without even needing a stylus. Imagine the indignity that the Founding Fathers – those quill-quill bearers dipped in ink – would have felt today if they had been asked to use their fingers to sign the screen of a card payment machine. credit in any modern store.

Speaking of online finger signing, this assignment has reduced us all to writing like our very stereotypical doctors, especially those of us with big fingers. I still feel a mourning-like moment when I finger sign a screen, see the results, think about the compliments I received on my writing a long time ago growing up, and wonder what complimenters would think upon seeing “Hlne Wims.” (But I also have to admit that I have become so lazy to even type things, I use emoticons and symbols to wish people a happy birthday, a happy birthday, to compliment them on their photos, etc., on Facebook.)

I wonder if Slattery is not the victim of poor education / illiteracy, but of his John Hancock’s electronic signature over the past few years … and, not used to using at all a pen, being unable to decide whether to print or use the cursive writing which teaching in schools has become a subject of debate over the years. How many of us combine print and cursive? Pair that up in a hurry, and our grades might not be better than Slattery’s.

Look online and articles advocating the continued value of calligraphy and handwriting can be found. Especially in the age of email and social media, handwritten notes and letters convey a sense of warmth and intimacy as they help cement the story together and allow for in-depth examination.

“Pens and pencils have been replaced by keyboard and touchscreen, and recent studies indicate that this can be overwhelming for more than the quality of our memories,” according to a 2019 article on the blackwaterandsons website. .com – a site whose nostalgia conscious members can “create, organize and merge” and offer items for sale. “These studies reveal that the practice of writing actually benefits our minds and bodies in ways the keyboard cannot, and to give it up is to neglect our own dexterity and brain development.”

Fortunately, the pens and pencils are still there. As I finish typing this column, I wish I could find more opportunities to use my handwriting … and I hope more of us will do the same.

Just so as not to write burglary tickets.

You won’t need to use your finger to send an email: [email protected]

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