I Got Rhymes Like Abe Vigoda

Today is January 23 which means this is the day we celebrate the birthdays of Django Reinhardt, Edouard Manet and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, among others. It is also the day that both “Barney Miller” (1975) and “Seinfeld” (1991) debuted on the network television. I don’t mean this as a slight to the inimitable Hal Linden but I think of January 23rd more for being National Handwriting Day than for the introduction of the character Fish.

You might ask what in the name of Abe Vigoda is National Handwriting Day? Good question. Started in 1977 by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association, an industry trade group, the purpose of National Handwriting Day “is to alert the public of the importance of handwriting”.  And hopefully sell more pens along the way. On the surface I suppose National Handwriting Day sounds kind of like a made up Hallmark holiday designed to boost sales while cloaked in the noble pursuit of individual expression and creation. Perhaps. But as a person who has a blog about the importance of handwriting, you might imagine I don’t share that view. Rather, I prefer to think of NHD on the terms promoted by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association, that is, to highlight the importance of handwriting.

And why January 23 you ask? Because today is John Hancock’s birthday and he was the first – and had the heaviest hand – signer of the Declaration of Independence. That, and the Writing Instruments Manufacturers Association must have wanted this week, which for me already includes an anniversary and two birthdays, to be even busier.

I recognize this entry probably should have been posted prior to today or at a minimum earlier in the day. But like the individualism inherent in handwriting, we all have a unique combination of personal characteristics and traits which make us who we are, and for me procrastination figures heavily into that list of personal ingredients. Better late than never I guess. And for you, it’s still not too late to pick up a pen or pencil and put something in writing. You’ll feel better for it and it’s a lot cheaper than Sweetest Day.

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