Sunday, August 19, 2007

Left, Right, Left

I've been in a special club since I was a little girl. I'm a Lefty.

Righties (it just doesn't sound as cool) don't understand us. I actually think it's a prejudice kind of thing. I'm a member of a few minority groups, but this is the one I'd go to bat for, (left-handed, of course.) Only 12% of the population identifies with these complaints:
  1. Ink stains on your little finger because you always drag it over your writing.
  2. A stiff wrist from holding your hand above the coil on the notebook.
  3. Ladles that have the spout on the wrong side, can openers that turn from the wrong side, and lids that twist the wrong way.
  4. People always angle a receipt in the wrong direction when you have to sign it.
  5. Not being able to see the line when you're cutting.
  6. Numbers on the keyboard are on the wrong side.
  7. Desks with attached seats are on the wrong side.
  8. People regularly comment on how awkward you look doing everyday tasks: peeling carrots, slicing bread, chopping vegetables, tying's not a confidence builder!
  9. You usually have to learn skills like knitting, throwing, painting, etc. from a right-handed person. It makes everything harder.
  10. We are always told we do things backwards, everything from feeding a baby to cutting meat. (Why isn't their way backwards? It is to us!)
  11. It's more natural to flip through a book or read a magazine from back to front.
  12. Sitting next to people at a table is always uncomfortable, (like, say, having two left hands.)
  13. Right hands are associated with truth (raise your right hand, shake hands with the right hand, join your right hands, "the right hand of God,") while left hands are associated with wrong (left-handed compliment, left-wing, leftist.) Think about right on, and left out.
I assume if you're still reading this you're probably left-handed, or you love someone who is. I've noticed that right-handed people don't even care that they're not in the club. They assume they're, well, you know...right.

We are masters of adaptation. David Wolman wrote, "Lefties have to spend nanoseconds here and there, every day, stepping back and reconfiguring how to operate in the world. It isn't a conscious process, but it happens, and it's a lifetime of calculus that right-handers don't have to contend with. Lefties can never accept the world as it is presented to them."

Something very significant about members of my club is we recognize each other. I wonder if Righties have noticed that Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza are both lefties. What about Bobby Goren? If my waiter has a great backhand (scrawl, not serve) I comment. We like to bond with a fellow Southpaw. In fact, I married one. See? I'm not completely out in left field!


kenju said...

Several of my best friends are lefties, but I have always been glad I am not. It seems the world is an unfriendlier place for lefties, but you appear to have adapted well enough...LOL

Christie said...

I have never stopped to think of all the adaptations you lefties have to make to live in our world. You should lobby to congress or something. Surely you are entitled to equal "rights"(ha ha). Is your lawyer a righty or a lefty?

anna jo said...

marty, I am a righty but always notice the writing orientation of people I meet. I've never understood why, but I always seem to find it interesting when I come across someone who is left handed. I even used to sport a shirt (that a southpawed friend gave me) that said, "god only made a few perfect people, the rest are right handed"

and I'll rally for your cause... get the picket signs ready! lefties and righties deserve equal treatment!!!

Jake said...

being raised by two-lefties made me very left-conscious...good thing since now i'm married to one and raising two more! keep fighting the good fight!

Kay Dennison said...

I always have said that lefties are the true rebels in the world -- we have fought conformity from the crib!

Joy Des Jardins said...

I read it all the way through even though I'm right-handed Marty. I never realized all the things left-handers have to adapt to....and I had two of them in my immediate family. My late husband was left-handed, and one of my twin daughters is left handed...they're called identical mirror twins.

Now that you mention lefties have gotten the raw end of the deal. But here's something....maybe it's just my experience, but all the lefties I've known are very intelligent people. Hmmm, how's that?

Granny Annie said...

Great entry! Yes I love a leftie -- my five-year-old granddaughter Hope. I haven't given this enough thought before now and will certainly be more courteous of her needs in the future. Thanks!

MissKris said...

Oh yes...left-handedness! And I've heard it's only 10% of the world's population...does that make us even more special?? Ha! I can clearly relate to all of your 'lefty-list'. My worst experiences as a lefty have been working in a commercial kitchen as a lunch lady for the schools. Another was at a job in the 1980s when I was given a computer with right-handed 10-key, handed an adding machine, and told to go home and teach myself how to do 10-key right-handed. No compensation. No overtime. I was told I had to learn it that way or lose my job. So I'd go home after working 8 hours a day, dealing with 'mom' life in the evening, then spending a couple hours copying telephone numbers out of the Portland phone book to teach myself. I even dreamt about numbers, and my brain honestly felt as if it was scrambled, I am so totally, naturally left-handed. That boss couldn't even begin to do that to me now, but in some ways he did me a favor, I guess. I am very good at 10-key right-handed!! Maybe because it's the ONLY thing I do right-handed, ha!

MissKris said...

Oh, and it looks as if my grandson might end up left-handed. Another thing...with right-handed hubby and kids, I never realized how I've set up my house left-handed until my daughter pointed it out to me several years ago...I hang up clothes in the 'wrong' direction and things like that. My Dad was left-handed and when he started school, they actually tied his left hand to a chair and forced him to learn to write right-handed. How barbaric was that?!

Rebecca said...

Funny post. But you are right...Lefties have it tougher. On the up side, though, is a higher intelligence level, or at least a higher aptitude in math and music is associated with left handedness.

Of your 7 kids, how many are left handed, since you married a fellow southpaw? Not sure of the genetics involved here....