to know me, is to know that i love the library. i still remember signing my first ever library card. it was a Big Deal. i must have been eight or nine.
i hadn't come up with a proper signature yet. i'd practice on paper, running all the letters together trying for the messy look of an adults. when that didn't work, i tried to make it artistic. except a 'C' is a hard letter to give a flourish to. i'd write mine with a really long tail that cradled the 'orrie.' but it looked like i was trying too hard.
eventually, i settled for neither adult nor artsy and plainly wrote my name in a not so pretty, rather wobbly looking cursive. every letter was clear and defined. i never liked my signature (still kinda don't), but i liked it least on my library card. not only did the cursive look childish even to my childish eyes, but i forgot to center my name.
for years, i'd hand my card over to the librarian and wince when i saw my name began at the very very beginning of the white box and end half way across, a huge unused white space after it. right after college i worked as a graphic designer for awhile. i should have recognized my leanings back then, because this non-centeredness of my signature killed even my eight-year-old's design aesthetic.
the other day at the library, there was no denying it. i'd worn out my card. (booyah!) the bar code was unreadable. for weeks, the librarian had to key in the numbers when i took out books. and even those numbers were almost unrecognizable. this wasn't really a problem, until my local library re-opened as a primarily self-check out branch.
i took my unscannable card to the librarian. she was offended by its state. "they've been keying in these numbers for how long?" she asked. "unconscionable. here, honey. a new card just for you. all you have to do is sign."
i was thrilled. a new library card! right there! no forms required. no papers sent away. she handed me a Sharpie and i signed without thought. just the way i had all those years ago.
i knew at soon as the rrie left my pen that i was in trouble. that i was making the same mistake as my eight-year-old self. i began at the very beginning of the white box and i wasn't even a third of the way across and i was almost done writing my name. i stretched out the 'b' of my last name to make it less obvious.
(i had previously included a picture, but then was struck with irrational fear that someone would be able to forge my terrible signature, so i deleted it.)
suffice it to say, i am now the proud owner of a library card that looks nearly identical to the one i had when i was eight.
on the plus side, at least it lets me take out books.