Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Judges' Handwriting That You Can Read

If you can't read that, join the club.
If you can, then, well, pfft. We don't want you in our club anyway.


Sometimes ballots are hard to read. If you're a judge and you're reading this, then you've probably read your kids' ballots unless you're an alumni since alumni usually don't have kids but they used to compete so they've read their own ballots, so basically either way, judges ought to know what's like. It's tough sometimes. Sometimes we can't read the wonderful, fabulous notes that judges give us because the handwriting is far too cramped. Why? Why, judges, why? I don't get it.

You know the feeling. The awards ceremony has just ended. You've received a large yellow envelope containing anywhere from 6-400 pieces of brightly colored paper, depending on how many events you have. You jump into the passenger seat of the car, or one of the back seats of your giant "homeschool bus," depending on how many siblings you have. You buckle your seatbelt and rip open the envelope, not necessarily in that order, depending on how much patience you have. Then, you begin to read.

Wait, no, not yet. First you organize the papers by event, then by the round, and then perhaps by rank or alphabetical order by the judge's last name, if you're particularly meticulous. Then you begin read. Except when you can't.

Maybe the parent judge was really in a hurry. Maybe the community judge forgot someone would be reading this and wasn't careful. Maybe the alumni judge had just consumed too much coffee and couldn't hold his hand straight. I don't know how it happens, but it does. Sometimes, you just cannot read that reason for ranking or for decision. It's depressing.

It's also awkward, if you have the type of mother that I do who insists you read your ballots aloud to her. Which I do.

"Umm, let's see, ok... Way good... periferation? Is that a word? Perforation?"
"Ohh, yea, yea. Ok. Way... no. I think that says 'very.' Very good presentation, but I... think, um, you can... be? No wait, it's 'do.' They just spelled it wrong, that's why I was confused. They spelled it like 'due, d-u-e.' Anyway. I think you can do better. You have a... failout?"
"Fail out?
"TALENT. Ok. They think I have a talent. Why didn't they just say that?"

Ballots like that one are why I very much appreciate legible notes. Thank you, legible judges. You have legibly saved the day. I'm the one making you watch my speech; the least I can do is pour over your notes. Plus, the idea is that I actually benefit from doing so. Thank you for making my life a little easier.

You're homeschooled. That much is clear.

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