News and Tribune


January 25, 2013

STAWAR: Loopy signatures


My brother, Norman, also had poor handwriting. Even as an adult, he used his own unique mixture of printing and cursive. Some experts say that skills required for printing are so different from those needed for cursive that most children have to learn to write twice. 

I always admired Norman’s signature, which had a flourish coming off the final “r” back to cross the ”t” in “Stawar.” When I graduated from high school, I decided that I needed to have a more mature signature, preferably one with some sort of distinctive touch like Norman’s. My signature was the same one I had in third grade. 

The summer after graduation I worked at a golf shop where I sold golf balls, tees, gloves and other equipment. Since I had to write a sales ticket for each item and sign it, this gave me a great opportunity to perfect my signature. I changed my capital “T” from the stupid Palmer Method to the way my mother wrote and incorporated a variation of Norman’s flourish, so that it crossed the “t” in Stawar and at the same time completed the “y” in Terry. By the end of the summer I had signed my name thousands of times and was quite pleased with my new signature. Even if my cursive was still illegible, my signature was pretty cool. 

President Obama was recently involved in a signature-related hullabaloo, when he had the fiscal cliff bill signed by the White House’s autopen while he was in Hawaii. The autopen is a device that allows the president to put his signature on documents without being present. The apparatus has long been used to affix the president signature to mass mailings. 

Obama is the only president, however, to use the autopen to actually sign legislation. He used it to extend the Patriot Act while he visited Europe and to approve a spending bill while in Asia. Although some have questioned its use, George W. Bush’s legal advisers wrote a memo in 2005 that affirmed its legality for signing legislation. 

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