ADVERTISEMENT

Cursive can help deter forgery of documents

The News recently reported that cursive writing soon may become a casualty of budget cuts. But I expect it is doomed no matter what.

Sometime soon, before each of our thumbs has evolved down to the shape of a stylus, we will sit around some digital fireplace with our great-great-grandchildren (thanks to modern medicine) to tell tales of hand-written love letters and the romance of cursive.

My tale, though is hardly romantic. It goes back to the time when I was a law professor. One day, the office called me in to take a look at a Blue Book written by one of my students. The alert clerk became suspicious when she noticed the B inscribed on the exam cover was somehow different from my usual B.

I opened the book to look at my annotations. What I saw made me catch my breath, with a vague sense of dread. The writing certainly looked like my usual scrawl. Still, something vital was missing. At first, I did not think of forgery. Obviously the exam was a forgery, a very good one. But what struck me was not its verisimilitude. Instead, I thought this is what it must be like to look down on one’s corpse.

The student, a senior, was sent packing to look for a different career – only three months before graduation day. Had it not been for the vitality naturally reflected in cursive, (and never from a keystroke), the fraud likely would have succeeded.

Everyone who hears this story is moved to comment that the miscreant would have made a good lawyer. I respond with a hearty chuckle. Of course, it is always a forgery.

Burt Siemens

Amherst