Recently a friend of a friend did a professional favor for me (hooking me up with the right person for an interview) and my friend suggested I send a thank you note. I was going to send a note along electronically when my friend suggested that an actual thank you card/note on paper with pen (handwritten no less) would be better. I have no actual thank you cards on hand and I am loathe to kill trees this way and most importantly, I detest my own handwriting. I haven’t handwritten anything other than very short notes in a very long time. Everything is tapped out on a keyboard and perfectly legible, except my signature, which is never meant to be legible. A signature is not about communication, it is artistic self-expression, and no matter how little it resembles your name, it is clearly your own.
I believe my aversion to handwriting first developed when I was living in France almost 20 years ago. There they practice (or at least practiced) the pseudo-science of Graphology (handwriting analysis), and believed they could glean all manner of things about the psychological profile of someone by whether or not they dotted their i’s or crossed their t’s and so forth. If someone was sloppy in handwriting, they were sloppy in life. I spent painful hours writing every cover letter over and over again until it looked almost perfect, oftentimes writing against the edge of a ruler. Better to be seen as too detail oriented and OCD than not enough, especially when applying for a job in an Architect’s office.
To this day, other than the occasional diary entry, I am loathe to write out long letters for other people’s consumption. And my handwriting has suffered I am sure from the years of non-use. These days I think my handwriting looks as if it were scratched out by a blind Tourette’s patient with a meth addiction. I have no intention of sending something of that sort to someone I actually want to thank. Far better to use my verbal/writing skills composing something that can actually be deciphered when viewed, and where the form will not get in the way of the content.
As a compromise, I told my friend that I would embed the whole thing in a lovely card-like pdf that he can print out or send along if he so desires, and I will even affix an electronic image of my signature to it, giving it that homey, creative, just slightly insane touch. Etiquette and propriety maintained, crisis averted.