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Fourth graders outraged when they find out they don’t have to use cursive

Bhargavee Gnanasambandam

A little hand moves slowly on the paper, etching each and every little part of the letter. A little bead of sweat drips slowly from his forehead. The graphite on his pencil moves slowly against the paper. Must. Get. The. Perfect. Letter.

He looks down at his papers, thinking about the embarrassment that he will soon face when they get to the real world. The college admission teams of mediocre community college voting ‘nay’ instead of ‘yay’ on his application. The upper class boss men firing him because his cursive ‘a’ doesn’t match the company look. His potentially Summa Cum Laude resume means nothing in comparison to each and every cursive letter.

He raises his hand, ever-so-slowly, and waits for the teacher to see him. She looks down at his letters, and pats him on the back for his effort.

“It’s not perfect. When will it be perfect?” he asks almost on the verge of tears.

She cocks her head, and looks down at the the smeared marks and the thin paper attacked by an eraser. She noticed his eyebrows furrow at the center of his forehead and the little tear drops form in his bright blue innocent eyes.  

“You don’t need cursive for anything sweetie. I only teach this because they tell me to,” she said as she patted him on the head to comfort.  

His finger muscles begin to cramp. He drops his pencil on the floor. Reality punched him in the face and his mind goes blank. His entire view of the world is suddenly flipped. It didn’t matter if his handwriting looked like calligraphy. The sophistication of being the best is lost to the plebeians surrounding him and his soul fills with rage.

“WHAT.”

What was the point of working hard? What is the point of having a future? What was the point of dreaming when fourth grade is just full of nonsense? Who teaches handwriting for the sake of it? Is the world full of nonsense too?

“We just want you to know how and what cursive writing is. No one actually ever uses it,” the teacher said, afraid of the little child losing his head to the realness of reality.

He looked down at his paper. He sat back down, and looked around at the rest of the children, with snot dripping down and Velcro on their shoes instead of Italian leather.

Turns out, he was just like the rest of them.

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