People with bad handwriting are dumb (myself included)

You write with a pen or pencil a lot more than you realize, and people have to read your handwriting a lot more than you realize. The shortcomings of your primary school education and your lack of patience and attention to detail are constantly being put on display. And people are judging you. Coming to all sorts of conclusions about your reliability as an adult, and your fitness as a parent and a member of society.

In the digital age, especially among millennials, there is this shared joyous future-cynicism about writing by hand, as if it were hat-blocking, or getting syphilis, some relic from a previous era that's still around for weirdos and specialists, but, honestly, surely only for historical interest.

But people forget about:
  • Whiteboards
  • Signatures
  • Envelopes and packages
  • Insurance and DMV forms
  • Mailing list sign-ups at shitty coffee shops
  • Post-It notes
Etc. Our society is not (yet) so silicon as to have replaced these fundamental tools with things that don't involve handwriting.

Despite the popular narrative of our society becoming increasingly type-oriented over the past five decades, there remain ample practical reasons for one's handwriting to be a fast and effective way to communicate information. A person who is bad at it either requires too much time and energy to write legibly (crossing out and redrawing letters as one goes); or, what is more common, one grows so used to one's own hand that one can no longer determine when the script has crossed over into unintelligibility, and so one proceeds as if communication were actually occurring when in fact it's not; this can result in dangerous misunderstandings.

There is also the physical and emotional effect of the act of writing itself. Bad handwriters approach the act with nervous intensity and reluctance, knowing they're engaging in an activity that they're not good at (which is inherently an unpleasant state to be in). They grip their instrument with tight, gnarled muscles and the letters are made with clusters of twitches and jerks. The hand and fingers write themselves into an orbit around the sunken wrist, which acts as an axle welded to the table. Around this point the entire writing arm rotates, the hand flying off in an arc to the right at ever-changing angles to the page, the elbow making an opposing swing to the left which, for right-handers, eventually impinges on the action of the right lung.

Thus through repetition, the seemingly simple and harmless task of writing something down becomes associated with feelings of tension, contortion, and impending suffocation. (This feeds back to the organism, and the next time something must be written, the mental and physical starting point is even more tense and reluctant.)

And then afterwards, the writer sees the result of his great labor, and he does not experience the microdose of pride and accomplishment which he is due as a practicing member of the literate class. At best, he considers the lines legible enough for the intended audience and he can put this horrible experience behind him. At worst, he cannot bear the thought of other humans (or himself) having this BLOT as the representation of his thoughts, and so he embarks upon the process all over again in making a shame-revision.

In other words, bad handwriting literally makes you less effective, as a member of society and as a human being. To willingly (or carelessly) persist in denial of this fact because of some pile of bill-of-goods futurism sold to us each year by the CES, is to actually stand in the way of society's progress towards that very future. The present cannot become the future if we're continually gumming up the works as a result of ignorant capitalist optimism.


You can do anything in a monastery