My kids’ summer camp has a system where parents can send an email to their kids, and then the kids write a message back that gets scanned and emailed to the parents. I think snail mail and real letters are more fun, but then again I also understand the relationship between a cassette tape and a pencil—by which I mean, of course, that I might be just a bit old-fashioned.
Anyhow, I decided to try it. I sent emails to all three kids; by the next day I had two replies, each consisting of two sentences along the lines that I’ve come to expect. Nothing from K, though.
That was on Sunday. Today I finally received K’s reply. You can imagine my excitement when the preview on my screen showed an entire page of text written in K’s cursive (which is way better than her printing.) A real letter! Finally! I clicked “print.”
When it emerged from the printer, I could have cried. It wasn’t that the on-screen preview had poor resolution, it was that I could barely see what K had written. Clearly she wrote her message in mechanical pencil (which she favours) or with some other pen that doesn’t scan well. I feel like the guy in the Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last.” Finally, I have a nice long letter to read! It’s in my hands! And… it’s unreadable.
I spent some time trying to guess at words and letters. I made a darker photocopy to see if it would help (it did and it didn’t.) At one point I was starting to feel like an archaeologist trying to piece together an ancient manuscript.
Sadly, just like piecing together an ancient manuscript, deciphering this letter won’t be the work of a few minutes. I’m going to hunker down with some bright lighting and several different copies and see what I come up with.