Dear Dean Jueds,
I recently had the pleasure of receiving a letter from you with regards to my Dean’s Warning for violation of the University’s copyright policy.
Your letter was, of course, very professional and to the point. In addition, the high quality of paper and crisp, clean Princeton University letterhead design conveyed that professionalism in a manner befitting the office from whence it came.
But as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I am not writing to discuss the finer points of letterhead design, nor am I inquiring as to your exquisite choice of paper stock. Rather, I write to inform you of something that struck me about your letter: the magnificent beauty of your signature.
In today’s digital age, it is not surprising that standards of penmanship are fast on the decline. I can’t tell you how many signatures I come across which are merely elementary school cursive versions of the signer’s name. To see an autograph with the flare and personality of yours is truly a rare and delightful treat.
Although your letter is dated from some time ago, it wasn’t until today that I had the good fortune to read it. It was only by a stroke of luck that I had already finished my morning beverage when first gazing at your signature, or else I might have spilled Jack Daniel’s all over my omelet. For you see, that first glance at your signature was not dissimilar to one’s first breathtaking view of one of our world’s most celebrated wonders.
I could not decide which of our world’s splendors your calligraphy most envisaged. Was it more like the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon, or was it an experience more closely resembling the awe of contemplating the magnitude of human achievement when one gazes upon the Pyramids or the Great Wall of China?
I reacted to the majestic sight in the only way one can when first encountering something more beautiful than words can describe: by staring with my mouth wide open. Perhaps both of the previous suggestions are off the mark. For as I stared, eyes wide, jaw dropped, at the divine harmony of ink and paper that composed the letters of your name, I felt as though I learned more and more about you with every passing second. Just as flowing curves link the letters of your name, so does your signature bridge the divide between our souls. In this way, your signature is more like a masterpiece of art than any natural or artificial monument. Just as countless minds have stared into the eyes of the Mona Lisa and seen more than just a woman, I stare at your signature and see more than Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students Victoria Jueds.
If only I had the words to describe just what exactly that something more is. I must borrow the phrase from the French, as your pen simply has a certain je ne sais quoi. Surprisingly, I can’t help but wonder if receiving your letter was a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, I was granted the honor of admiring one of the most stunning feats of penmanship, I dare say, in the history of the written word. However, on the other hand, like a blind man given the gift of sight for a day only to have it then taken away again, I feel as though I may never be able to enjoy the hand-written word from this point forward, as it could surely never compare to what you, with a few effortless strokes of the pen, put down on that letter that fateful day.
And this brings me to the purpose of my letter to you today. I humbly request that you grant me but one favor. It is clear to me that if I could have anything it would be for all of my communications for the rest of my life to be transcribed by your hand to ink on paper so that everything I read may give me the pleasure that your autograph did at the end of that letter which has now been etched into my mind like the fondest of memories.
I know that this is only a fantasy. I know that this can never be. Perhaps, though, you could grant a small part of my wish. Could you write me a letter entirely by hand? That way, I would have a whole letter with hundreds of words and letters to admire. It could even be the same letter as before, but with all the typed parts hand-written. I am anxious to see how a master capable of such forceful penmanship writes some of the phrases in that letter. In particular, I would like to see “standard penalty and disciplinary probation” written by your hand.
Grant me this boon and I will cherish the letter forever. I will spread it to the farthest reaches of the Earth, and all will admire it. And the world will know what writing can be. Please don’t make me beg. If I have to, I will download all the movies, music, and software I can find with reckless abandon just to receive another letter from you!
Madam, I salute you. The written word itself salutes you.