Feeling Blue About Signatures

, , , , , | Working | June 26, 2020

I’m a legal assistant. Half the attorneys I work for are well advanced in years. One day, one of them emails me the most mundane assignment: format and print a letter for him. I do so and take it to his office for him to sign. He looks it over, has no changes, and signs it… in bright purple ink.

I’m very confused because one of the most fundamental rules you don’t even need to be a lawyer to know is that you only sign legal documents in black or blue ink. Despite being nervous about how it might come off, I give in to the urge to question what I just saw.

Me: “Is it okay to sign this in purple?”

Attorney: “It’s blue.”

Me: *Pause* “No, it’s purple.”

Attorney: “It is?”

Me: “Yeah, a bright, pinkish fuchsia or lilac.”

He stared hard at his signature, looking as confused as I was… and that is how we both learned he’d become color blind. Rational or not, I felt horribly embarrassed, but he just laughed it off.

We keep our pens in their original, clearly-labeled boxes in the supply cabinet. He simply made it a rule never to take colored pens into his office. Whenever he passes by my desk, he’ll routinely pause, hold out a pen or paper with his signature to me, and ask, “This is blue, right?”

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