I wonder how many of my readers/followers are left handed? That photo of a person with a dirty WRITING hand says so much about my early life. I never needed to cope with bullies — I got my toughening up just learning to write, learning to compete in a world made for people who use the other hand.
One meets all manner of people with so-called handicaps but rarely do you hear people talk about the curse of being left-handed! ( you realize I’m not serious here — just play along with me a little, OK?) By the time I was born most places had given up in the once-medieval practice of forcing children to write right-handed. I consider myself fortunate. Still, I can’t remember a time in life when I didn’t look at life, at things, at myself, differently than most people around me.
I’m not complaining, mind you. Being left-handed was a great headstart in becoming my own person. But you can’t go through life with quite such a feeling of entitlement if you are left handed, because the hand you write with also determines a great many of your other traits: which side of the road/path you prefer, how you shop, even to some extent your pace through life — you tend to move more quickly, or more slowly than others to avoid being crushed by the crowd who’s behavior is going to be different than your own.
It starts early, you learn in school to sit on the left side of the room to facilitate taking notes, and you always take up two of those high school and college seats with the folding desk — so that you can write on the desk of the seat next to you instead of scrunching in a heap to write on the right-handed desk in your own seat. Your hands are always smudged from graphite and ink that your hand rubbed over as you wrote.
We lefties all get a bit defensive about our handwriting. No one else seems able to read it and we get constant comments about how hard it must be to write “like that.” Learning to touch type was the best thing that every happened to me!
Seriously though, you learn to think differently when you are left-handed. A million choices in life are custom tailored for the righty — but those same million choices for the lefty are cumbersome and designed to give us grief. Anything you do with your hands has been tailored to righties, so lefties grow up with a mentality of how-do-I-make-this-work.
In recent years we’ve seen some concessions to lefties. For example you can now buy left handed scissors, peelers, etc., but not many tools are built for both handed use.
I have yet to find a crescent wrench that is threaded the right way, to this day I am never sure which way to twirl the knobby thingy to close the jaws. Drills and saws and electical tools in generaly all have the controls in the wrong places. I could blame being lefthanded on reasons I didn’t become a good woodworker — but I’m not into blame and I’m quite content having other skills that aren’t dependent on my handedness.
It’s mostly a big laughing matter to me. I really don’t mind being left-handed and I know for a fact that I’m better off having been lefthanded because it forced me to confront the world on terms I could handle. Being a lefty made me into the odd duck, independent cuss I am today. Maybe I feel sorry for righties, they didn’t have the advantage of not living in a world that was made to be convenient for them. They had it easy and never thought about the little things that make life easy for the crowd, for the average person, for the one just like everyone else.
Fortunately, some people actually understand our lot in life — and some even find it a worthwhile cause for celebration. This advert from 2012 in Australia illustrates my point. So, you’re lefthanded, so what. Relax, enjoy life and have a little fun at your own expense. 🙂