Jan 30, 2009
This is a horror story.
The Esq and I are self-described font snobs, and actually quite proud of it. I'm the worst kind of snob, the kind that expects better choices from the people around me, but the Esq has higher standards without being a total dick. Me, I'll point at your Times New Roman effort and laugh in your face. I'll do it loudly, and without remorse--if anything, YOU'RE offending ME. If you can't branch out from the one default font that comes with Windows, then you must buy picture frames and keep the photos that come with them, never showcasing your own family or friends. IF YOU EVEN HAVE ANY.
Helvetica is fine, if a bit pedantic, but every Arial font drives me totally insane; the same goes for the Lucida family, Verdana, Comic Sans, and Franklin Gothic Medium. As fonts go, they're worthless: too boring, overused, or way too narrow. I'm a fan of Garamond for professional work, Century Gothic for kids, Bookman Old Style for letter-writing, and Trebuchet for this blog. Gimmicky fonts like Jokerman, Rage, Chiller, Ransom--they're interesting, but they use up a lot of printer ink, and are somewhat hard to read. I find that Courier New and Modern No. 20 are wannabe fonts, and the 'cursive writing' ones--like Lucida Handwriting, Monotype Corsiva, Freestyle Script, Mistral--are for princess-y girls between the ages of nine and thirteen. Don't even get me started on the non-letter fonts like Dingbat or Wingdings, because I don't know who seriously uses them; someone who speaks in pictures, I guess. SKULL AND CROSS BONES-CHILI PEPPER-PALM TREE-MANSION-BABY BOTTLE-FACTORY-STOP SIGN-EAR... it's sentence structure from briny deep, the stuff nightmares are made of. Don't ever use Wingdings if you're trying to communicate clearly. Point being: I know my fonts, and so does the Esq.
Last weekend, we helped my kiddo with his Science Fair project; the experiment surrounded SweetTarts, and which liquid would dissolve them fastest. The entire weekend was a lesson in on-going patience, or maybe a shrieking advertisement for birth control. I could have thrown together his project in about an hour, but he had to do everything. Like, everything. I did learn something new: Oren doesn't know how to type. After watching him type the word 'science' over the space of five whole minutes... peck............ peck...........peck........SNORE... I realized that multiple sections of scientific data (question, hypothesis, variables, data, materials, graphs, photos, and conclusion) would take him three years and four months to complete. I could feel myself aging with every peck. So the Esq, who did most of the work (as a former Science Fair competitor), worked his magic somehow, and taught Oren basic word-processing. By the end, he was a pro.
In the beginning, however, we had to figure out the layout for his triptych, help him write some paragraphs, make headlines or titles for different sections--so we pointed him in a font direction. 'These are all the fonts--just go through all of them, see what they look like, and choose your very favorite.' For a font snob like me, I was excited--what kind of font would my own offspring come to love? Is good taste really inherited? We were about to find out.
He scrolled through a bunch of them, predictably liking what I call 'boy fonts'--Magneto, Chiller, Elephant, Showcard Gothic--but they wouldn't make the cut. He looked at each one thoughtfully, laughing at some, pointing at others. He stopped on one, but for some reason, shrugged and kept moving down the list. He clicked on one, enlarged and emboldened it, and turned to us, a beaming little face filled with happiness. "This is it! I like THIS ONE." I peered over his shoulder, just as he was announcing his decision:
Times. New. Roman.
That's when I pushed him off the cliff. It's better this way. Despite his totally average taste in fonts, Oren was awarded the Exemplary Ribbon in the Science Fair last night--the highest ribbon given out--which I accepted on his behalf, since he couldn't be there due to his unfortunate accident. Times New Roman. You know, it's true what they say: kids can kill you. Unless you get to them first.