March 2012

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laugh If You Can Read This I Probably Didn't Write It By Laura J. Gallagher If you need a ransom note written, I'm your gal. I used to have really nice handwriting—a little girly, very rounded and cheerful, but legible. In the last 15 to 20 years, though, it's pro- gressed (or regressed, I guess) from "nice" to what one could call "serial killer" to "stroke-riddled serial killer." I know I used to have nice handwriting because my parents were sentimental goofs and kept all the letters I sent them from college and camp. I know I'm their daughter because I'm a sentimental goof and kept all the letters they sent me. I have a lot of old letters, is what I'm saying. I also know that if there is a handwriting gene, it skips a genera- tion right along with the gardening one, because my mom's hand- writing was better than you've seen on some wedding invitations. Seriously, even when she was playing tug-of-war with Alzheim- er's for control of her brain, she still had the presence of mind to start labeling all her old pictures for me, and while the back of a picture might have said, "My nefew nephew Roger I thing this is at or old house on Burrell," it was done in remarkably elegant cursive. Legend has it that my dad had beautiful handwriting, but at some " " … My mom's handwriting was better than you've seen on some wedding invitations. read the notes I made before typing this article, axroceom) because I've neglected it by using a computer so much for the last, oh, 20 years. See kids, back in my school days, not only did we not have computers on which to type our papers, many of us didn't even have typewriters (pronounced tie-pride-ers) and we had to hand write our papers. Now get off my lawn! In a way, the bad penmanship is not that big a deal. While I'm I'm assuming my handwriting has become atrocious (or, if you still a big fan of taking notes on pen and paper, I'm usually the only one who sees them, so there's no real embarrassment there. The problem is that I often look at something I jotted down in a meeting and have no flippin' clue what I wrote. I sometimes end up calling the other meeting participants and casually asking them at what point—and why—we discussed Bao Dai, the last emperor of Viet- nam. I work in marketing, I don't know why it's not obvious to me by now that I mean "branding" 99.9999 percent of the time. It's marketing; if we're not talking about branding, it's only because we're too busy eating bagels. I also abbreviate while I take notes, smug in the knowledge that I'll know what I meant three days later when I review them. I don't. Conf = Conference? Confirmation? Conflagration? Branding? Vietnam? We have a whiteboard on the fridge at home where we jot down point someone said it looked feminine, so—and this is the complete truth—he never wrote in cursive again, except to sign things. He printed—and in all capital letters, too—so every note he left me or my mom was like being shouted at by an angry, confused yet lov- ing Internet commentater: IF YOU WANT TO USE MY CAR THIS AFTERNOON, YOU WILL NEED TO GET GAS. ALSO, DON'T FORGET THAT MIKE AND SUE ARE COMING OVER THIS P.M. TO PICK UP THE OLD LAWN MOWER. NEED MILK. LOVE YOU! I THINK THIS VIDEO IS FAKE! seen those shows where the crime scene folks come in and they're all judgmental and "Not much of a housekeeper, was she?" or "Unpaid bills, maybe money troubles?" while they shine their flashlights around, right? The last thing you want is for the police to spend their time trying to figure out who Charles Peter Branch is, when all you really meant was that you were out of chunky peanut butter. Laura J. Gallagher is a long-time communications professional. When not teasing her husband, Triple M's Pat Gallagher, she is on Facebook at the Laura J. Gallagher page! ••• will be nodding their heads in agreement here—if I get murdered and the police come, I don't want to be embarrassed by either a messy house or badly written notes. How many ways is that screwed up? But come on, we've all what we need from the store. I take it down every time I want to add something, because it's easier for me to write neatly that way. Why should it matter, when the only other human in the house has as-bad-or-worse handwriting than me? Because—and I'm hoping other crime and mystery TV show fans 80 BRAVA Magazine March 2012

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