Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Signature Is a Mess

When I was nineteen years old, my boyfriend at the time told me that he had what he thought was a really smart strategy for signing his name to things.

“I just make everything after the M a squiggle,” he said. “That way no one can read it. If anyone asks, I can just say it’s not my signature.” He had a very serious look on his face as he explained this.

“So you have plausible deniability?” I said, using two words he didn’t know.

He looked confused but went with it. “Yeah!” he said.

I sat there, reevaluating my life choices. Was he really that good in bed? “Um, I don’t think it works that way,” I finally said.

“Why not?” he wanted to know.

“Why even sign in the first place?” I countered. This seemed to stump him.

I don’t remember why the topic came up, or even what, if any, specific document he’d seemed so reluctant to sign. I remember being baffled by the man’s logic, because I intuited that a signature doesn’t necessarily need to be legible in order to bear legal evidentiary power. In the U.S., at least, a wide variety of marks can count as signatory, including rubber stamps, digital signatures, a personalized symbol or even an X.

When I was young, I was conscientious about my signature in a way that I wasn’t about my love life. I wrote my signature carefully, forming each letter in cursive as I had been taught to in grade school penmanship class. Whenever I signed my name to anything I did so while looking sweaty and shaky, because I was worried that my signature wouldn’t look right and the cashier at the Circle K would think I was impersonating myself.

As I got older, my signature became sloppier and sloppier – the degeneration of my signature occurs in direct correlation to the decline of my ability to give a f&ck. You know how they say, “Correlation does not equal causation”? Well, in this case, it does.

The first casualty was the capital A in my last name. At some point I stopped making a large, round, cursive capital A and just started putting in a printed A. Then I ditched the c in my last name, making it smaller and moving it up, and then finally turning it into an apostrophe. Sometime later, I turned the cursive Ms into printed Ms and then into big squiggly lines. Meanwhile, the Es on the end of my name gradually flattened more and more, until they became a flat line. Finally, a few months ago, I was signing my name to a credit card receipt and I decided, “F&ck it, life’s too short, but my name isn't short enough," and just lopped the Es off altogether. Now my signature reads, Marjorie M’At.

I think the Rs will be the next to go.


  1. Well ... I'm with you to a degree.

    My signature is illegible. I don't know when exactly this happened and it really doesn't matter.

    All I know is in the everyday of Life? I can tell the difference between my signature and someone else's who has tried to duplicate it. And in the grand scheme of things that's all that really counts.

    That ... and the fact I have better things to worry about.

    1. Sure, as long as you can tell it's your signature, that's all that matters.

  2. I feel like my signature has gone way downhill since I started signing for things with my finger.

    1. OMG YES! It's ridiculously bad when I have to sign with my finger.