Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I’m in My Right Mind...Left On!

Step left this way and listen to another tale of my woes.
Ginger Rogers once said about dancing with Fred Astaire “I have to do everything he does except backwards and in high heels”. Being left handed in a right-handed world is very similar with the exclusion of the high heels. (Okay, I promise we might talk about the high heels in a future posting.)
Only about one in twelve men and about one in twenty women belong to our much maligned, and oft forgotten minority. Our only consolation is that the left side of the body is controlled by the right side of the brain so unlike you we are in our right minds.
Left-handedness has often been equated with negative images. The word “sinister” is a derivative of the Latin word “sinistra” meaning “left”. The left hand has often been called the Devil’s Hand. I can assure you that I am not possessed. Well, at least, I am unable to puke pea soup and spin my head around 360 degrees. But then again, wouldn’t that be cool?! There are countless other biased references against our kind in the English language but I won’t bore you with them now. Hell, you’re on the internet, look it up!
When I started grade one at Our Lady of Sorrows in East Vancouver, I was the only left-handed kid in a class of fifty. Sister Miriam Henry just about had a fit trying to teach me penmanship. I will give that evil woman credit though; when it came to rapping knuckles she was ambidextrous. Handwriting has been a nightmare to me ever since. When writing (Note: They don’t call it lefting! More prejudice!) Right-handed people pull the pen across the page; we have to push it across. Watching me curl my hand up to grip a pen is akin to watching the contortionist at the circus. You could always tell when I had been doing a lot of writing; the tip of my left pinkie was always blue. That is why to this day I symbolically paint my fingernail. (Okay, I lied that isn’t the real reason but I did have you going didn’t I?BTW – Click now to find out more about the bracelet) Believe me, the use of word processing programs has been a godsend to me and to anyone who has ever tried to read my scribbles. I even have a hard time reading my grocery list.
Lefties tend to excel at a number of sports especially those that involve individual head to head competition like tennis. This is probably because right-handers still haven’t quite figured out which way the ball is coming at them. A similar situation occurs in martial arts competitions probably for the same reason. For some odd reason more than half of all ice hockey players shoot left-handed and because of this Canada has the largest ratio of left-handed golfers to right-handers in the world. This oddity is more than made up for in Field Hockey. In Field Hockey left-handedness is not permitted; there are no left handed Field Hockey sticks and using the other side of the blade is illegal. This is just one more reason to hate the English!
I am not sure being left-handed affected my athletic abilities. Truthfully, even as a kid I was always awkward and uncoordinated, but that little extra disadvantage probably didn’t help me. I was affected playing pickup baseball because I always had to have my own glove. There was no way to borrow one from a player coming off the field. Buying a baseball glove even to this day was always an adventure. Sporting goods stores have racks of gloves that fit on the left hand but only a couple that fit on the right. The only thing I do athletically or for that matter anything at all right handed is sight when shooting so I’m giving you fair warning be wary of your left when I approach.
Growing up there was one advantage of being left-handed. No one ever wanted to sit beside you at the dinner table because you would always be bumping elbows. I always got to sit at the end of the table. Nowadays things are a little different at family gatherings because the Crown Prince and one of my nephews are also lefties. We avoid the awkwardness by occupying our own side of the table. Oops, pardon me, elbow bashing isn’t the thing that make family gatherings awkward! Hee Hee!
In closing it should be noted that an inordinate number of world leaders, writers, artists and other significant historic figures were southpaws but I won’t start listing them. As I said before you are on the internet look it up yourself, dammit!
Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day here in the Magic Kingdom. Oh crap, wrong theme park! ;-)


  1. It's nice to read your stuff, Dennis... Oops! "N" word again...

    Leonardo DaVinci was also left handed... and he wrote all his journals "right to left"... Just saying...

  2. I'd never even thought about how right handed people have it easier for righting. I mean writing.

    Scroll down this link to the Politics entry. Wow!