Saturday, June 16, 2007

Right out of Left Field

Did you notice my glaring error in that last strip? No, maybe you didn't. Relatives? Look at Jess' hand. I put the pencil in the wrong hand! I'm left-handed!
Not that this hasn't happened to me before. I guess because of the juggling and yoga that I do, lines tend to blur about what is left and what is right. I sometimes find myself wondering what's wrong with my handwriting only to realize I've got the pen in my right hand.

My husband and oldest are also southpaws. My younger two are right-handed. I don't know where I went wrong. Erm...right.

Being left handed has posed some interesting problems in my life. I spent college with my elbow perpetually hanging in space as I took notes because the chair-desks all were designed with right handed arm rests. I learned how to cut with right handed scissors uncomfortably positioned in my left hand. I would constantly amaze people with my neat handwriting. ("You write so beautifully and you're left-handed?) Incidentally, writing was excruciatingly painful. I only realized after I taught my right handed son how to write that righties hold the pencil different! My son will have had the rare opportunity of knowing what it's like to be left handed, being raised as a righty in a left-handed family. I had all sorts of difficulty trying to teach him to hold the pen correctly. It even took me a few minutes to realize that the reason he couldn't hold the pen at first was because he was trying to hold it in his left hand, like mom! "Chase, I'm sorry, you're not a lefty. Put the pen in your right hand."
I even managed to cut a nice knick out of my finger because the circular saw I was using was designed with the guide on the left side for the convenience of a right handed person. Holding the saw at an odd angle, I didn't notice I was aiming at my right hand, which was holding the plywood in position. Or maybe my left hand was trying to take out my right hand in a jealous rage. Or maybe I've just mastered my right hand not knowing what the left is doing.

In many ways, I pity you right-handers. You have a cushy life. You don't have to think twice when someone says "raise your right hand" or "start on the right foot." You don't have to worry if the potato peeler is going to peel more than the potato. You probably don't even think twice that your computer mouse is on your right, as well as all the controls on your camera. You don't have to figure out how to use products designed for your dominant hand after years of living with conveniences for your weak hand. How do you challenge your hands? Do you let lefty do anything or does your right hand do it all? Does the thought that you are right handed even enter your consciousness?

I know I'm lucky in many ways. Left handed people were often scorned in history. Many women who were burned as witches had the misfortune of being left handed. It was assumed that they were evil because of this. My mother would tell me of relatives who were switched and forced to use their right hand. Forced! Can you imagine being forced to write with your non-dominant hand when your dominant hand works perfectly? How many artists would we have lost if they were not allowed to use the hand they were comfortable with? How many writers and composers would have been frustrated? Handedness is set in our brain's wiring. If you mess with handedness you are also messing with the master plan.

I hope my wandering thoughts have given you something to think about today. Spend some time being thankful for your writing hand today. And be thankful you have that spare. And be thankful for the keyboard, which is the great equalizer. The enter key may be on the right, but the letters I use the most are on the left!


ComfyDenim said...

I had to laugh. I've thought about it. I'm seriously right handed. If I have to use more than one remote control, I switch them into my right hand.

The Professor prefers to use his mouse with his left hand. I prefer my right.

My left hand is not useless, totally, but if I should ever lose use of my right hand, I'd have to have physical therapy. *L*

My father-in-law was forced to learn to use his right, by his father - but that's another story. My grandfather was a year for Christmas we searched to give him a bag full of things made specifically for lefties.

Thanks for the food for thought!

Bonni said...

Hear! Hear! This lefty can totally relate to this!

I consider us lefties a tad more dexterous than the righties. After all, there are just some things that we lefties have to adapt to in everyday life that righties don't ever think about. Like the right-hand desks. And binders with large rings. And the serrated part of the knife on the left - easy to cut when it's angled correctly with the right hand; a bit trickier with the left hand. How about the liquid measure? Amounts are easy to read when you hold the silly thing with your right hand.

You are supremely blessed to live in a house with other lefties! I am a little jealous. My husband and kids are righties, my parents and siblings are righties. My mother's father was a leftie, but he was tied up at school and forced to use his right.

I wonder if there's a blogging club for lefties....hmm...

Anonymous said...

My older daughter is a southpaw too. :-)

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