My grade school teacher, Miss Dinesmore, would have been shocked by such a development. Many times her students felt the sting of her ruler on their writing hands when they failed to take greater care in penmanship. Our former teacher might even be surprised to learn that one factor in the U.S. Post Office being in danger of bankruptcy might be that emails are replacing physical mail.
You see the picture. Folks sit down at their computers, punch a few buttons, type on keys, wiggle a mouse and type a message to mom. "Hi, love you." Mom types back, "Ditto." Personal letters have been replaced by email or cellphone calls. No need for pen, paper, envelope or stamps or cursive writing.
The U.S. Post Office says fewer than 50 percent of all bills are now paid by mail, so we can see how the change affects the bottom line of the Post Office. Even as we write, the postmaster general is asking Congress for financial assistance. The service lost $10 billion this year, partly because people quit writing. Miss Dinesmore, get out your ruler.
Using computers is easier for some youngsters than writing with pens and pencils. With a bit of effort, writers may find it easier than communicating like early man by smoke signals and drawings on cave walls. Wonder how you say, "Love you, mom," with a smoke signal?
Smoke signs are not all that durable and even the smack of a ruler from someone like Miss Dinesmore won't improve skill. Smoke signal students were at the mercy of wind, water and fuel source.
Miss Dinesmore probably did not expect her students to become professional writers. She knew few in her class would gain financially from writing and literary efforts. She knew we wrote for self-expression and she expected us to write well enough to be read by others. She knew we could sign our names when applying for licenses.
To my co-worker's son, we remind him he isn't alone in not being skilled in cursive writing. On Sept. 18, in the Peanuts comic strip Charlie Brown complained, "Rats, I just can't do it. I can't write like the teacher wants us to do."
Practice makes perfect. With a little extra effort, writing one's name can become easy. If I was a bettor, I would guess my co-worker is already encouraging her computer-skilled son to become a member of the cursive writing club.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.