Is Handwriting History?

Have you got a pen? My answer to such a question, following some clumsy digging in my backpack, is increasingly no. Sometimes, embarrassment giving way to defensiveness, I wonder why anyone bothers to ask. For years an “e-signature” has sufficed for my letters of recommendation; it’s months since I wrote a check. Presented with a credit card, more and more cashiers point me to a screen to scribble on with my right index finger. (I worry that the scrawl bears no resemblance to my real signature, but on the other hand—ha! hand!—I’ve begun losing all sense of what that indication of my individual personhood might look like.)

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