Sunday, June 24 , 2018, 7:48 am | Overcast 63º


She Said, Z Said: The Keyboarding is on the Wall

Let me get this write: Our signature moves are no longer required?

Z: Honey, pack your bags and yoke the oxen. We’re moving to Indiana!

She: No, thank you. And ... why?

Z: The Indiana Department of Education has decreed it is no longer necessary that schools teach cursive writing.

She: I hope they sent out a handwritten memo for that one.

Z: They weren’t going for irony. They were going for modernity, efficiency and the elimination of repetitive redundancy.

She: You’ve been agitating for years to get rid of cursive in the schools. I understand why you’re excited, but I don’t think we need to move there.

Z: I think we do. I think we need to show our support to the great state of Indiana for making this most excellent decision.

She: Couldn’t you just handwrite them a nice thank-you card?

Z: I will keyboard it, which is what they’re going to focus their time on now instead of cursive.

She: Whatever happened to typing? I learned how to type, not how to keyboard.

Z: I think in order to type, one would need a typewriter. Keyboarding is for the computer age. Cursive is for back when making copies of something meant you had to hire a monk instead of going to Kinko’s.

She: I get it. Times have changed. But I saw a study somewhere that says cursive writing helps you think in a different way.

Z: Luddites grasping at straws. That was a bad study. I can see how writing things out longhand might help you think in a specific way, but there would be no distinction between printing and cursive.

She: Did you know that we celebrate National Handwriting Day on Jan. 23, which is John Hancock’s birthday? It’s a nice tradition.

Z: So let’s all sign our names on that day. Which is really the only time we’ll need to sign them. You rarely have to sign for credit cards anymore, which was basically a forgeable, pointless exercise in extra paperwork. Seriously, who’s looking at those?

She: What about artists? How will kids grow up to be artists if they can’t sign their name on their art?

Z: Cursive is art. And I like art. So learn cursive in art class. It’s very pretty, at least when I’m not doing it.

She: Aha! Is your hostility toward cursive some deep, repressed anger at getting a bad grade in handwriting?

Z: Not that I recall.

She: I also saw a study that said kids who learn handwriting could take faster notes.

Z: Another bad study. I’m guessing they compiled the data by hand. Keyboarding is faster. The earlier kids learn to keyboard and use a laptop in class, the faster they’ll be at taking notes.

She: Is that what you do in the man-cave late at night? Conduct typing vs. handwriting studies?

Z: Even keyboarding seems like it will be obsolete pretty soon, as voice recognition gets better and better.

She: But won’t something be lost if we’re not organizing our thoughts by hand any more?

Z: Or gained, when we return to an oral tradition that our brains are more naturally wired for. Surely you haven’t forgotten Koss’ encounters with the dreaded D’Nealian Alphabet.

She: What a nightmare that was. He started out with decent penmanship and within a week those extra loops and swirls were keeping us all up at night. Talk about D’wasting D’time.

Z: Not anymore. At least not anymore in Indiana.

She: You’re right. Indiana is very enlightened. And I’m sure you won’t mind that the temperature can drop down to -30 in the winter.

Z: Honey, unpack your bags and return the oxen. We’re staying in Santa Barbara!

She: Yes, dear.

— Tell She and Z what you think by typing a letter to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous She Said, Z Said columns. Follow Leslie Dinaberg on Twitter.

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