The signature was known to almost all for its individual, unique personality. during its long life, this special type of scribble had an important public role in some of history’s major turning points: the Magna carta, The declaration of independence and the treaty of Versailles, to name but a few. pivotal but often unacknowledged, the signature was a reliable wingman to many politicians and businessmen over the years.Out of the boardroom, the signature was cherished for its generous and helpful character. a much loved friend of the rich and famous, the signature always relieved fashionistas in embarrassing penniless situations. With the aid of an expensive fountain pen and the right amount of flair, the signature could ooze glamour even while glossing over a more than slightly rouged bank balance.The signature was once a pious little thing, most commonly associated with the elaborate calligraphy carried out by monks who produced copies of religious documents. For a long time it was the courtier only to the well-educated and powerful but it soon ditched his silver spoon and befriended the masses. Once, the signature would not make an appearance unless its audience were making important contracts using quills and ink. Later, much to the shock-horror of its friends, the signature began to mix with quite a different crowd and could be found hanging out in toilet cubicles and behind the school bike sheds.However, the signature was always overshadowed by its distant relative, the handshake. The handshake was loud and confident, went to a better school, knew the right people. however, there was no comparing their integrity. whereas the handshake was lacking in honesty, the signature was far more straight-talking. The handshake made empty promises, the signature got things done.Despite the signature’s prodigious public achievements, when it came to matters of the heart he was always notoriously bashful. come Valentine’s day, the signature was often nowhere to be seen, leaving only the question mark to bail him out. Not quite the match-making cupid, the signature got stage fright and left lucky recipients of cards clueless about their mystery admirer.Alas, the signature grew old and frail, too slow to keep up with the pace of modern life. its new rival, the pin code, proved itself to be far more quick and efficient. The signature, alone with the delusion of its unique charm, could in reality be imitated by almost anyone. Thus, it played into the hands of the fraudster and, therein, lay the seeds of its downfall.It seems everywhere the signature turned he was no longer safe. savagely taken over by chip and pin, the signature withdrew from the hustle and bustle of the shopping mall where it so frequently spent its saturdays. email, now far more popular than snail mail, spurned the signature for the convenience of an unchanging, indistinct typeface. The curtain has dropped on this special character. Many will grieve the loss but the signature will always be with us, inscribing a small, inky mark on our memories.ARCHIVE: 6th week MT 2005