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“When the initial stroke of a lower case p spikes far above the middle zone, you’re looking at a pugilistic p. The pugilistic p shows up in the writing of people who are extremely argumentative. The higher the initial stroke rises above the middle zone, the more tenaciously pugnacious the writer. If you say the sky is blue, they’ll say it’s green, and they’ll never back down — no matter how many color wheels or meteorologists you put in front of their face.”

Sex, Lies, and Handwriting by Michelle Dresbold with James Kwalwasser (Free Press, $12; available July 22)

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