**Today, a few words about handwriting, and irony.
If you know me, or were a classmate of mine at any level of school, you are aware I have the worst handwriting known to man. If I’m not the worst, I’m at least in the photo. I’m a lefty, I write fast, and I write sloppily.
It’s a problem that’s plagued me since second grade, when my teacher Mrs. Broudny had the audacity to tell me I had “the worst handwriting she’d ever seen in all her years of teaching.” (Maybe it was true, but do you really tell that to a 7-year-old?)
I learned to type in the fifth grade, and except for greeting cards, writing checks, and illegible phone messages scrawled out, my awful penmanship hasn’t been that big a problem as an adult (As a journalist it had an added benefit: I knew my fellow writers wouldn’t be able to copy my notes).
Still, it’s something I feel badly about.
So when I got into this whole teaching racket into which I’m now dipping a few toes, I knew there’d come a time when I’d have to criticize another kid’s chicken scratchings. I dreaded that time, but alas, that time has come.
On some essays I was grading the other night I told a student on top of his paper that he “needs to work on handwriting.”
It’s the kind of comment I got ALL the time as a student, and it usually stung a little. I felt bad writing it on this kid’s paper, but maybe there’s hope for him yet. Maybe he’ll take the time to improve, and it won’t be a lifelong problem for him.
Maybe he won’t turn out like me. I half feel like going over to him when we return the essays and showing him my writing, to make him feel better. But no, that might only scare him.
Instead, I just sit here with a twinge of irony crawling across my cranium, as I, possessor of illegibility, have criticized anothers.
**My best friend Clay sent this along and it goes right with that clip I posted last week of the dude who made a drawing of Conan O’Brien using only Cheetos.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, art with salt, done by a guy named Bashir Sultani (see more of his amazing work here.)
This is pretty incredible stuff… though I have to believe dude was on drugs when he first started doing this.
**Finally, I wrote a few weeks ago about the tragic death of the journalist Anthony Shadid, a heroic and brilliant war correspondent who died in Syria of, of all things, an asthma attack.
Tyler Hicks, an outstanding war photographer, was with Shadid when he died, and because he did not want Shadid’s reporting to die with him, he has written this excellent dispatch about what life was like in Syria when Shadid passed (If you read only one part, read Page 4, which has the details of his death. Riveting.)
The whole piece is interesting and tragic and well worth reading.