Diane Becker, "Country Life"

Have you looked closely at a new one-dollar bill recently?

Don’t worry, George Washington’s picture is still on there. What is unique about the newest dollar is that it’s the only bill on which the Treasury Secretary chose to print rather than sign his name in cursive.

Is it just me or is that just a little appalling?

I knew that beautiful handwriting was on its way out but to print instead of writing out your name on U.S. currency seems to be a bit sacrilegious.

What if all of the founding fathers had decided to print their names on the Declaration of Independence?

I think foreign governments absolutely would not have taken us seriously. I can just hear King George saying, “What is this document? A fourth grade school project? How cute!”

So what was Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of the United States Treasury, thinking when the person in charge of new currency told him to sign a piece of paper so they could use his signature on billions of dollars to be used across the world.

Did he forget how to make a cursive “S” but was too embarrassed to ask for some help? I’ve been there.

Sometimes when I’m handwriting a note my mind will go blank as to how to, for instance, make a cursive “Y”. Is there a loop at the beginning or end or both? Which way does it face again?

Still, I don’t just give up and print a “Y.” That would be childish because printing letters on a handwritten note or printing your name on U.S. currency is just a bit childish.

Maybe Mr. Mnuchin was self-conscious about signing his name. Some people are like that.

A fellow customer was looking over my shoulder as I signed a receipt and remarked that I signed my name “like a doctor” which wasn’t meant to be a compliment.

Yes, I was in a hurry but I can’t write beautifully when someone is intently watching the whole process from start to finish.

It’s hard enough for me to make the “K’ in Becker not look like an “L” but I try and nervous as I might be, I wouldn’t sign a credit card receipt by printing out my name, for heaven’t sake.

Many years ago I taught third graders how to write cursive. I loved circling their loops that went too far below or above the base line.

Practice makes perfect so during handwriting class, they learned to sit up straight and, laying their papers on their desk at a slat, make rows of beautiful sideways loops. Their papers were a work of art.

It was a rite of passage. They were excited to learn the grown-up way to write.

In preschool they had learned to print their ABC’s and the sounds those straight and round letters made, but now they were anxious to write like the big kids in smooth sophisticated lettering.

Maybe Mnuchin’s printing is the result of years of typing on keyboards rather than writing by hand.

If so, I hope seeing a printed signature on a U.S. dollar makes other people think that the printing has to stop and we need to keep up the beautiful are of cursive writing for the future.

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