Roy Exum: Our Handwriting Wish

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I can remember a time in my life when I could recognize a person’s handwriting. It was back when we used to send and receive letters and postcards and love notes with our friends. But the biggest reason I am wildly in favor of a bill now in the Tennessee Legislature that will hopefully make it a law that all children must learn to write and read in cursive by the third grade is because – right now – I can hardly sign my name.

Don’t worry; in the next few weeks I hope to be outfitted with a new, and marvelous, brace on my arm that will finally position my right hand where it can hold a pen or pencil. I have been wearing a rigid brace for months, one that positions my “writing hand” with the palm up to help me carry things since I have no elbow joint.

My new brace will purposely have my thumb up instead so I can not only shake hands properly but – at long last – write a quick letter or take notes because just watching me endorse a check makes the bank clerks cringe. You have no idea how terrible it is if you can’t write and, because I have such a perspective, I can say that good handwriting is essential to a full and happy life. And just like riding a bicycle, everybody must learn how to do it.

We live in a word of gadgets, from computers to tablets, and while today’s young can text on an iPhone faster than I can talk, the ability to write in a clear and concise hand should be a prerequisite to an elementary school education. We should have spelling exercises, primary writing classes and tests where the answers must be hand-written as well.

State Rep. Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) authored House Bill 1697 after she was told many of today’s children can’t write or read the Bill of Rights in its original form. But Tennessee will soon be like California, Georgia and Massachusetts in demanding our children should be adequately prepared for life that includes some form on handwriting virtually every day.

Before my bout with infections that caused me to reject artificial joints, I didn’t have “a pretty hand” when it came to writing, more of a print-like style, but I loved to drop people notes. Since then I have envied people who write beautifully and it isn’t lost on any of us it is becoming an extinct art. Rep. Jim Coley (R-Bartlett) is a school teacher and said, “Not only do kids not know how to write cursive, they don’t know how to write, period. The style is really rather tragic, to see some of the materials we have to read.”

The bill, which was delayed on Tuesday for one week, is certain to pass. Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) is the youngest legislator at age 29 and he expects a large bipartisan vote to approve the bill. “You need to be able to write in the event your computer, your phone or your iPad batteries fail.”

I noticed last summer that some schools were discontinuing algebra II for the simple reason there was little use for it in “the real world.” Good handwriting has just the opposite effect, whether you are reminding your child about baseball practice or leaving a note that you’ll be home in time for dinner. It is a vital educational tool, not to mention its primary purpose – communication.

* * *

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.” -- Anaïs Nin

“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.” -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” -- Mark Twain

“A woman's perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.” – Christian Dior

“I’m ambidextrous. I can write just as poorly with either hand.” – Jarod Kintz.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen your handwriting before. It’s an oddly personal thing, isn’t it?” -- Ann Aguirre.

“A bad handwriting is as annoying to a reader … as an irritating voice is to a listener.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana.

“Man is a strange animal. He generally cannot read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it.” – Adlai Stevenson.

“You may not be able to read a doctor’s handwriting and prescription, but you’ll notice his bills are neatly typed.” – Earl Wilson.

“Handwriting is an imprint of the self on the page.” – Dr. Rosemary Sasson.

“If your handwriting is barely legible, it makes them think that you are not really an organized person. That you are writing too fat and not thinking about it.” – Adam Levinson.

royexum@aol.com



Senator David Perdue: I Have Heard Every Excuse Under The Sun - And Response

Here we go again. For the 19th consecutive year, Washington has not funded the federal government on time. As the current continuing resolution is expiring in the midnight hour, Congress is once again trying to pass a temporary fix three months after the beginning of the current fiscal year. This is ridiculous. In fact, Congress has only completed the full budget process four ... (click for more)

Silence From Rhonda Thurman

I find it deplorable that Rhonda Thurman is, once again, voicing her opinions so quickly and so vehemently.  She seems to be the one school board member that wants media and/or press coverage every time the opportunity avails itself.  However, when it comes to responding to personal emails sent directly to her…she zips her lips. I, as all of the citizens of Hamilton ... (click for more)

Tennessee Members Of Congress Urge President To Approve Federal Disaster Assistance For Tennessee Counties

Members of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation on Saturday urged President Obama to quickly approve Governor Haslam’s request for a major disaster declaration for the State of Tennessee to help five Tennessee counties impacted by wildfires and severe weather in November rebuild and recover. “Governor Bill Haslam has submitted a request for Public Assistance and Individual ... (click for more)

Grohn Says Integrity And Ethics Lacking In Berke Administration

Mayoral candidate Larry Grohn criticized controversies and instability coming from the mayor’s administration as a sign of unethical leadership and a lack of integrity. He said, "These scandals lay out the simple fact that it is time for new leadership which is accountable to the people." Councilman Grohn’s criticism comes after the independent auditor’s release of a memorandum ... (click for more)

Cleveland Shocks Bradley To Win Cleveland Duals

CLEVELAND – There have been a lot of positive and memorable experiences for the Cleveland Blue Raider wrestling team in recent years, but they’ll have a tough time topping the one they had in their own gym Saturday. Hosting the annual Cleveland Duals and certainly a team considered one of the pre-tournament favorites, the Blue Raiders beat three of the top four teams in the state, ... (click for more)

Heights Rallies For 72-67 Victory Over Athlete Institute

Kentucky signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a team-high 26 points Saturday as Hamilton Heights rallied for a hard-fought 72-67 victory against Athlete Institute of Canada in the Buckeye Elite Showcase in Portsmouth, Ohio. The Hawks (7-2) built a 19-16 first-quarter lead, but fell behind 40-32 at halftime and still trailed 58-49 going into the fourth period at Portsmouth ... (click for more)