It makes me smile when I watch them sign off on their work with unpracticed print that can turn out completely differently from document to document. A scrawl that’s not yet set or fully formed. It’s a lot like those doing the signing.

And the time they spend on the damn things – I’d be ecstatic if they put that kind of extended concentration into the work they were handing in as well as just the front sheet.

But I jest (a bit).

If anything, I’m more than a little jealous. The signature I had when I was their age doesn’t exist anymore and I miss it. It used to be framed by graceful swirls and elaborate flourishes. It danced.

I look at what it has become now and it’s like an engine stripped to the essentials – paired down to practically nothing from overuse. Two flashes of an ink-stained blade leaving little more than an ‘x’ to mark the spot in yet another box to indicate the proof that I’m doing the job that I’m paid to do. It’s change in style representing a slow but inexorable move from art, identity and whimsy to utility, speed and necessity.

A necessary sacrifice I suppose. If I’d preserved my original John Hancock small accumulations of time would have led to additional hours spent pouring over paperwork and I can’t really afford that. Besides, we’ve all got to grow up sometime.

But still…I watch mine, scribbling away, giving such care and attention to their mark on the world and I wonder what else I might have lost.




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