TTP | The Slight of Longhand

Lost Art of the Pen  -

September 16th, 2010


Created in 1938 when a drunken epileptic sneezed while journaling, cursive writing has found itself smack dab on the academic extinction list next to band and mash notes.

That first part may be bullsh*t, but it's true that kids are barely writing longhand anymore, as many are learning to type as early as kindergarten. Is this a tragedy, or a sign of the times? Much like keyboards today, cursive originally allowed for faster writing. One of the cool things about cursive was that you could identify a person's work before you even read their name on the page. Plus, when chicks dotted their i's with hearts, you knew they were going to be good to go at the cotillion.

[Join the conversation about ... cursive.]




People die annually due to the sloppy handwriting of doctors, per a 2006 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Institute of Medicine.



A man's penmanship is an unfailing index of his character, moral and mental, and a criterion by which to judge his peculiarities of taste and sentiments.

4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope

"Say, Phil, there is a monster booger hanging out of your nose."


noun.     the study of a person's character through the medium of handwriting. A meta-analysis in the early 1980s of hundreds of independent studies proved graphologists were basically full of sh*t.

Used in a sentence before the 1980s: I could tell Stu was a murderer from the way he signed his checks; that's simple graphology.



Penmanship was a separate lesson up through sixth grade for most school curricula until the 1970s. Some teachers in the 1940s and 50s made it a classroom focus up to two hours a day. A 2003 survey of primary-grade schoolteachers done by Vanderbilt University found most teachers spent ten minutes a day or less on the activity.

Wow, a whole new way to screw students.


The List

Sewing Back in the 1950s every woman on the block had a sewing machine. Not only could they hem pants, but they could actually make clothes. Thanks to the vibrator, most hemming today is done at the cleaners.
Contract Bridge This ancient card game has more rules than a Catholic school dance. It was created for old people to have something to do while they downed Gin Rickeys and bitched about politics. Some people are trying to save it.
The Thank You Note Few people write them today, believing their exclamation of "fuck yeah" while they open your gift serves as enough of an indicator to show you how much they appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Dressing Nicely for Church The red on your GWAR concert tee really brings out the piping on your slowly deteriorating sweat pants, but the ensemble is a miscue at your nephew's baptism.

A man used to open a door for a woman, pay the tab, or give her his jacket in the cold. Today if a gal is going on a date, she better have two hands, a sweatshirt, and a $50 bill.


Much like oral sex after marriage, writing in longhand is something that is seldom practiced today. Sad? You bet your chapped chubby.

Next time you feel like getting "old school" and putting pen to paper, do it with classic style.

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