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Griffonage

New York Tribune founder Horace Greeley, famed for his illegible handwriting, once scribbled a note to a member of his staff, dismissing him for gross incompetence and neglect of duty.

The staffer, encountering Greeley many years later, thanked his former boss for the illegible note. "I took it with me," he explained. "Nobody could read it, so I declared it a letter of recommendation, gave it my own interpretation, and obtained several first-class situations by it. I am really very much obliged to you."

[Illegible handwriting is called 'griffonage.']

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