I’ve never met Danny Katz’s better half, but I’m sure she’s my kind of woman. We’d be naturally drawn (clever) to each other and would have plenty in common. How could we not? To forsake one’s beloved, Danny, for a stationery shop, well – despite my adoration for my own beautiful partner, I’d be tempted too. I could see that situation occurring, even if I may not be quite as brazen as Mrs Katz. You see I am one with her. They mesmerise me too. I’m infatuated with ‘…: paper, pens, pencils, paints, pins, punches, paperclips…’ I become hopeless with desire, my fingers twitching as they clutch my wallet. Coloured envelopes, designer writing pads – I can’t get enough. And if said retail outlet has a range of non-Hallmark variety greeting cards, I am beside myself with joy. If I find the work of a local artist or something of eye-catching originality, then those digits cannot contain themselves and my wallet opens up. Occasionally, I have even been known to swoon.
But here’s the rub. One of the banes of my life. I can’t write. I don’t mean that I am illiterate and I certainly do not mean that I lack the time to sit down and produce epistles to be sent through the mail to the cherished ones in my world. I do that – quite copiously in fact. Perhaps it even could be said too copiously. But my cherished ones are a tolerant set – they indulge me and I adore them for that. No, it’s my scrawl I mean. I cannot produce a hand even remotely worthy of the paper it’s written on! My a’s look like u’s, my ‘b’s resemble ‘h’s and so on, whether in free flow cursive or in print mode. Way, way back my university professors insisted I use a typewriter for it was beyond them to decipher what I was attempting to inform them of regarding any topic. As a teacher my backboard skills were a laughing stock. Just as well that most of my students were a kind, tolerant cohort as well. But even so, their furrowed brows were often perplexed when asked to copy down whatever I had scratched down on black, white or smart boards. Usually I had to translate several times until they made sense of it all. I didn’t mind. I was never offended. I knew how bad it was.
I wished at times I could have been around when copperplate was taught instead of cursive. Would that have fixed matters? I can delude myself.
No doubt the loved wife of one of my favourite columnists does not suffer my affliction – at least I trust not. At times it makes me feel like an impostor in the stationery shop. But I dream I can one day be fully legible – but time is drifting away.