This post came as a result of being inspired by this article on slashdot: “Cursive Writing Is a Fading Skill – Does It Matter?“. At first I was thinking that it was a shame that people aren’t writing in cursive anymore and that it will be a forgotten skill, replaced by touch typing which, sadly, isn’t even that popular a skill these days either. I imagined a world where grown adults were unable to even understand excerpts of text written in cursive and there was a need for ‘experts’ in the field of deciphering the archives of masterfully written literature encoded in this alien cursive handwriting.
It was at this point that I questioned my own ability to write in cursive so I decided on trying to write something. Then came the first humbling experience of the night: I didn’t even have any paper handy to write on, and I had to spend a few minutes looking for a pencil. After fumbling around some boxes to find the last 2 remaining sheets of lined paper I own and digging through a pencil case full of dried up pens and lead-less mechanical pencils to find a writing instrument, I sat down and started to write. It then dawned on me that I didn’t even remember how to write some of the letters. Luckily for me, Wikipedia has a very well written entry on Cursive to refresh my memory and I began to write.
So does it matter if we can’t write cursive? It’s a useful skill, but so is knowing how to start a fire using only wood but I would dare say that most people can’t do that these days. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote in mirror image cursive, another skill that hardly anybody uses. I guess my personal example aligns me with the group of people that doesn’t need cursive anymore. I don’t even use a paper or pencil these days. I keep my grocery list on my phone, and the only time I ever use a pen is to sign receipts or checks. Maybe the paperless office is promoting the cursive-less handwriting.