There may be some hope for we who are penmanship challenged. President Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, his chief of staff Jack Lew, has one of the least readable signatures in the history of signature writing.
His fourth-grade teacher must not have been anything like Mrs. Stuart, my fourth-grade teacher.
The practice of penmanship was very important to Mrs. Stuart, who made sure our letters were carefully and cursively shaped, and that they didn’t wander all over the paper.
As I recall, I got a C in penmanship that year, and never did better than that.
Jack Lew must have gotten an F. His signature looks like a piece of fishing line that came off the spool of a reel. It starts with a cursive J that’s almost recognizable, but it’s then followed by a bunch of doodles. You might say it’s loopy ... or Lewpy as the case may be.
I’m not being critical, of course. My signature is no better. The signatures of a lot of the people I know are no better, and maybe worse. But here’s the difference: If he becomes secretary of the treasury, Lew’s signature will appear on U.S. currency.
How are penmanship teachers going to argue for clear handwriting when the signature on the money of America looks like gobbledegook? “If bad penmanship is good enough for money, it ought to be good for everything else,” I might have argued if Lew had been treasury secretary back when I was a lad.
In my pocket right now are bills signed by treasury secretaries Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Timothy F. Geithner and Paul O’Neill. I know that because you can read them. But if Lew takes over, the money will be signed by “that loopy guy.”
Our money already is taking a beating. Does it need more?