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The Goddess Speaks

By Christie Wagner

Tuesday, January 25, 2000

Hubby’s writing
off the wall

MY husband is a good man. A very good man. But nobody's perfect. Least of all men.

Before filing last year's tax return I had to examine our check register because even he can't read his handwriting. I found such entries as $26.44 payable to the "Southwest Goo Congress"; $29.31 made out to Unconventional Surgical Associates; and an entry for which not even one letter could be deciphered or even guessed at, but for which the amount is recorded as "Sparkly Farley Dollars."

This penmanship thing impacts all areas of my life. Have you ever been given a phone message that looked like "Kukla called," followed by seven figures that didn't resemble any number known to Western civilization? I have, and believe me, you get enough of those and you start feeling like Lizzie Borden on a bad hair day.

Not only does the guy have a signature in which only the first letter of his first and last name is legible, he never signs his name the same way twice! Last week at the bank, he signed his name as Raoul Snooty. Not only was this embarrassing to me because it sounded like some conceited drug dealer, but he had signed something totally different for the same teller the week before.

At the grocery store, he signed his check Rowdy Slattery for the checkout clerk. Depending on your bent of mind, it sounds like either a callous bar brawler who's been thrown out of every pub between Belfast, Ireland, and Rahway, New Jersey, or the autograph-besieged male idol of the Irish silver screen.

Whatever. It is not his name. And it did not match the name on his driver's license.

As the line of shoppers behind us reached the pickle aisle, then started up the foot powder aisle, the suspicious clerk waved over the assistant manager, who in turn nervously paged the general manager.

HE grudgingly accepted the check. But only after studying the bulletin board of the F.B.I.'s "Most Wanted" list on the wall, which faced our checkout counter, and photo copying the three additional photo I.D.s he ordered my husband to produce.

Do you think the logic of my drive-home argument to change his ways produced the desired effects? Hah! Still unrepentant the fourth time after midnight that I awakened him, my husband -- let's face it, proudly -- said into the pillow, "At least no one will ever forge my name."

"That's right!" I shrieked, springing up in bed, jerking the nightstand lamp switch into its "on" position.

"That's because," I shouted, "No one would know what signature to forge!!"

I suppose you and I are lucky that my husband didn't become a doctor. A prescription for Sudafed cough syrup would most certainly have been misread by the pharmacist, probably as Succinyl Choline -- that untraceable stuff spies put on umbrella tips to jab and kill the unsuspecting without a trace -- for some poor patient. No refills necessary.

I'm just thankful that, somehow, my husband signed his name legibly on our marriage license. Not only does that keep me from being a fallen woman but it will keep our future children from being branded little you-know-whats because their last name won't appear to be the same as their father's.

Christie Wagner is a writer, actress
and mother of a 5-year-old parrot.

The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
quirks and quandaries. If you have something to say, write it and
send it to: The Goddess Speaks, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O.
Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802, or send e-mail

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