Despite the title, this blog is NOT about communists or socialists. Rather, the theme is people who are left-handed. Most of you, probably did not realize that August 13 was International Left-Handers Day as designated by “Lefthanders International.” This “day” has been observed annually since 1976. That’s right, or rather, that’s correct. Lefties have their own “day” and their own organization.
According to Wikipedia, between 7 – 10% of people are left-handed. I’m not sure why there are so few. I recall that when I was growing up parents would frequently try to convert their left-handed children to right-handed. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it did not. But, it often caused friction between the parent and the child, who would be resistant to the idea. Perhaps, there is a scientific or medical reason. Anybody out there have any ideas?
We all know people that are left-handed, but do any righties stop to think of the inconveniences they endure in their daily lives? For example:
- Opening cans. Can openers are made for righties. I am not aware of any “left-handed” can openers. (Actually, it sounds like a bad joke.)
- Writing. This has been mitigated by the widespread use of computers, but older lefties will recall the difficulties of writing on school desks, particularly those that had the side panel arm rest. Lefties had to write sideways or upside down. Moreover, when writing with a fountain pen a leftie would invariably smudge the ink or get ink on his fingers and hand.
- Scissors. The simple task of using a pair of scissors to cut paper would be problematic for a leftie. Like everything else, scissors are made for righties.
- Shaking hands. Some lefties find it awkward to shake hands with their “off” hand.
- Spiral notebooks. These are uncomfortable for lefties, as their hand is always resting on the metal spiral.
- Bumping elbows. If you’ve ever sat next to a lefty in a restaurant booth or other enclosed space you are familiar with this problem.
- Bowling and golf equipment. This does not appear to be as much of a problem now, but when I was growing up it was next to impossible to find lefty golf or bowling equipment. Consequently, I have met many lefties of my generation who were forced to learn to bowl or golf righty.
- Peer ridicule. Not so much now, but when I was growing up many child lefties were subjected to teasing or ridicule by their peers because they did things differently.
On the plus side, in my experience most lefties can do many things righty, sometimes almost to the point of being ambidextrous. Conversely, most righties do nothing lefty and have a weak, uncoordinated left hand.
Lefties take heart. In the pc age, your life has generally been made easier. Furthermore, there have been innumerable successful people who were lefty. A total of eight US Presidents were lefties: James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In addition, there have been thousands of successful and famous lefties in other fields. A small sampling would include entertainers, such as Don Adams, George Burns, James Caan, Matt Dillon and Sylvester Stallone; artists, such as Leonardo Da Vinci and LeRoy Neiman; and baseball players such as Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax and Ted Williams. (In fact, left-handed baseball pitchers are very much in demand, because they are needed to get out left-handed batters, and even an average one can enjoy a long career.)
Lefties, please comment on your life experiences, either positive or negative.