Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Left is Right for Me

I found myself thinking today about my handedness as I fought with a workstation computer and mouse. Away from my office, it is difficult to adjust to a portable station. (I can't believe that I found this cartoon in less than a minute, the power of search engines...phenomenal). This may not seem like a very big deal to most people, but sometimes a leftie gets weary of working harder to adjust to the right handed world. Am I a better, stronger, wiser person for it?
I don't know. Sometimes I think research statistics are made up to make lefties feel better for the long history of malignment we have received. While it is reported that more geniuses have been lefties (DaVinci and Einstein) it has also been publicized that we have a shorter lifespan (although recent research now disputes this). My invitation to Mensa (membership of lefties over 20%) has been permanently delayed in snail mail, so I would like to appeal for those extra seven years to bring me to par with my right handed peers.

Here's just a short list of things I have found awkward and difficult as a leftie:

  • scissors --- ouch, painful, had to purchase my own but they have disappeared into the void where my single socks reside

  • knitting - had to learn from a "how to" for lefties; left handed knitting looks different than same pattern made from rightie - I prefer left!

  • dance and skating choreography - most steps are right side dominant, think about wearing a ball glove or holding a hockey stick on the opposite hand, while playing at a competitive and national level in a sport

  • table settings - ugh, I dread dinner parties where I'm seated with a rightie to my left

  • fishing pole- have tangled miles of line on reel - now take photos instead, but don't get me started on problems I have with cameras

  • ink on hand- left pinky to palm always smudged with ink

  • guitar - ok, I don't play guitar, but if I did it would be more expensive to buy a left handed guitar

  • car - the control panels are all mounted to the right- would fit in if moved to UK- but even this tradition started to accommodate horse carts so whip could be used with right hand!

    Did you know:
The devil has been frequently pictured as being left handed. This stems back to a belief that he baptised his followers with his left hand. The left hand historically has been a symbol for evil.
The superstition of throwing salt over your left shoulder to ward away bad luck started in Roman times. Spilling salt (which was a very expensive commodity )was thought to generate bad luck or spirits. Throwing salt over the left shoulder was thought to placate the devil.
It has been said that ghosts can only be seen over the left shoulder.
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431 for being a heretic and a witch. She is depicted as a leftie but that may be biased to demonstrate her association with the devil.
Ringing in your left ear means someone is cursing you.
The tradition of wedding rings being worn on the third finger of the left hand originates from the Romans and Greeks who wore rings on their left hands to ward off evil.
The left hand is considered female.
If your left eye twitches you will see an enemy.
If your left foot itches before a journey, it will end in sorrow.
It is considered bad luck to pass a drink to a person with your left hand.
A left handed compliment is defined as " A compliment with two meanings, one of which is unflattering to the receiver."
Change is a long time in coming. Some of these superstitions have roots that are thousands of years old. I'm a leftie and even I throw salt over my shoulder!
But I believe changes are happening. Think about the "Yes, we can!" movement.
Barack Obama is left handed.


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