FACE TO FACE:Should schools continue to teach 'joined-up' writing?
Awizened, silver-haired woman sucks back a Red Bull, held in her age-spotted left hand. Simultaneously, the skeletal thumb of her right hand jerks to and fro over a scratched iPhone as she texts her granddaughter.
Her granddaughter, who thinks her grandmother's tattoos are hideous, dutifully and laboriously tries to answer Grams using her mother's huge, old Blackberry, which, amazingly, still works. The pre-teen girl has never learned to text and needs her mother's help to send a note in such a labour-intensive, clumsy way.
Another obsolete mode of communication is in the news lately. Cursive writing has been removed from the state of Indiana's required curriculum. Of course, this has been widely reported as a "ban" on teaching cursive writing.
Calm down folks, it's OK. Indiana didn't "ban" the teaching of writing. It gave permission for it not to be taught, having recognized that cursive writing is obsolete. No longer a requirement of daily life, the shortcut that was cursive writing is now a long cut.
It has joined calligraphy as a quaint, classical art relegated to wedding invitations and headstones.
Unfortunately, no amount of nostalgia will change this. It's gone.
Like the older among us, I, in school, skritched ovals, capital and small letters by the thousands. The MacLean's Method of Writing Compendium I used is now as irrelevant as the pen and ink I used in slaving over it.
I now script only on greeting cards. My adult children think it's a bit archaic of me, like wearing a uni-functional chronometer on one's wrist, it's so 1990s.
Communication changes. I'm sure there was a lot of tut-tutting among calligraphers when theirs became a lost art, and such changes will come more and more quickly in our digital world. Suck it up.
Texting will soon be replaced by something more intuitive, efficient and less labour-intensive.
Then, our cursive writing-deprived children will rhapsodize about the days of yore, when their young thumbs danced on their phones 24/7.
They'll worry that their children will miss the continuous texting that was the sublime communication of their youth and they'll be as wrong as we are today.
If only Red Bull and tattoos would become obsolete as quickly.
Face to Face columnist Jim Nelson is a retired Tri-City teacher and principal who lives in Port Moody. He has contributed a number of columns on education-related issues to The Tri-City News.