I am left handed and in all my years I have hardly given it a thought, until last week when I received text messages out of the blue from some random¹ about being left handed.
Totally weird coinkydink!
So now of course I can’t stop thinking about being left handed.
There are quite a lot of us out there, we are said to make up about 10% of the world’s population and we have been bestowed a day, given for the celebration of being left handed -13th August- whoever creates these days needs to work on their marketing as I never got the memo and I feel cheated, of what exactly I have no idea but I feel cheated nonetheless.
The word left is from the Anglo-Saxon lyft, meaning weak or broken so it’s no surprise then that as I have read through the history of left handedness, we are not portrayed in a positive light in practically any culture. The Scottish use this saying when describing an unlucky person ‘He must have been baptized by a left-handed priest.’ If you are to believe information that is available: We left handers are scaredy cats. The Devil is left handed (i.e. in religious paintings he is depicted as being left handed). We are three times more likely to become alcoholics and have mental disabilities, but on the up side we adjust more easily to seeing underwater. We are better at multitasking. We are creative, innovative and have a greater chance of being geniuses. Lefties also make better sport people (southpaw anyone?)
Only a couple times in my life do I remember being left handed being an issue. One time was when I was in India when I was four; we were in Mumbai at our family home where many of my mother’s elderly relatives lived. In an Indian home the elderly are much revered and their word considered gospel, counter that with the fact that in Indian culture the left hand is considered unclean because it is supposedly used to clean oneself after one uses the amenities; you can imagine how little four year old me trying to eat with my left hand went down (think lead balloon). On an elder aunt’s say so, in an effort to coerce me to eat with my right hand I spent the rest of my stay eating meals with my left hand tied to a chair. Needless to say there was more crying than eating done on that particular trip.
Other times I thought about it was when I was at school like when handwriting with an ink pen, writing left to right with ink is messy and smudgy for a leftie, same goes for writing on a blackboard OR when sitting on the chairs that are attached to a writing surface, I either had to get to class early to find the one left handed chair (think needle haystack) or sit on the edge of the chair side-saddle.
That’s where my memories end, for you just get on with things don’t you and you ignore all the little, everyday inconveniences; you don’t think about why can openers exist to cause you pain or why you have to manoeuvre your body so you can swipe your card with your left hand on the tube turnstile or how awkward it is to take a selfie/use a camera or why you have to twist your arm to read the measurements on a measuring cup or why spiral notebooks are the absolute worst to use or why the only guitar lesson you ever had was an awkward experience thus thwarting your rocknroll career before it ever got started.
As I ponder on all this now I still don’t think it a big deal that I am left handed but I do rather like the company I am with… MARILYN MONROE Oprah Winfrey ALAN TURING Friedrich Nietzsche BART SIMPSON Julia Roberts MARK ZUCKERBERG Julius Caesar PICASSO Nicole Kidman BARACK OBAMA Diego Maradona BILL GATES Mozart RICHARD PRYOR Winston Churchill DAVID BOWIE Amitabh Bachchan PRINCE WILLIAM Lewis Carroll GOLDIE HAWN Kate Hudson JOHN F. KENNEDY Jr. Caroline Kennedy HILARY SWANK Bill Clinton MICHAELANGELO George Michael ARISTOTLE John McEnroe JON STEWART Leonardo da Vinci ROBERT REDFORD Albert Einstein JIMI HENDRIX Benjamin Franklin GANDHI Diane Keaton BACH Robert de Niro Rembrandt DAVID ROCKEFELLER Angelina Jolie FRED ASTAIRE Babe Ruth JOAN OF ARC Ronald Reagan BEETHOVEN Napoléon Bonaparte EMMA THOMPSON Prince Charles HELEN KELLER Charlie Chaplin CARY GRANT Buzz Aldrin JUDY GARLAND Mark Twain EMINEM Henry Ford MARIE CURIE John-Paul Gaultier
No, not too shabby company at all.
¹To the mystery person who arranged for me to get these text messages – thank you for giving me something new to think about but you can stop now, it’s not interesting anymore.