What computers do to handwriting
I've noted before that one of the consequences of computer literacy is that you never recognise a student's handwriting when you mark an exam. You've actually never seen their writing before -- because they have submitted every piece of work by email, or at least in nicely word processed hard copy.
This seems to me wholly good. You really do mark exams blind, without that awful realisation that you are marking "Jenny" -- who has either done much better or worse than you thought she would. Heaven know what it is like for the students. After years of typing, how on earth do they write by hand for three hours? (Answer I fear is that some of them write dreadfully -- and they would be well advised to get some practice.)
That said, there is a downside to not seeing anyone's handwriting any more. All your best friends communicate by email. So what happens when you get a great present and an almost illegible -- and certainly non identifiable -- card?
This has just happened to me twice.
Last week I received a very nice bottle of wine, left for me at college. There was a card (with a picture of a garden), signed -- explicitly as a thank you -- by someone whose name I simply couldn't make out. The result is that I haven't been able to say thank you for the thank you. If it's you, DO say.
Even worse, the next day a letter arrived (again at college) addressed to me. This included a very well chosen present (of a Roman coin, with a portrait of the grandmother of one of my favourite emperor's, Elagabalus). And it was signed by a handwriting I HAVE seen before. I THOUGHT it read that it was from "Peter".
It turns out I know quite a lot of Peters, but sending a photo of the signature (a clever iPhone trick!), to those who know my favourite candidates well, produced only a negative result. Maybe it wasn't "Peter" after all.
So this is very embarrassing (though, in the bigger scale of things, less embarrassing than not saying thank you for a great present). But if you sent me this, PLEASE tell me.
I am so sorry not to have recognised the writing. But we probably only email each other.