The Elite Few ~ A Celebration of Everything that is Left

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“Left-handers are wired into the artistic half of the brain, which makes them imaginative, creative, surprising, ambiguous, exasperating, stubborn, emotional, witty, obsessive, infuriating, delightful, original, but never, never, dull.” ~ James T deKay and Sandy Huffaker from The World’s Greatest Left-Handers: Why Left-Handers are Just Plain Better than Everybody Else

Today is a day of celebration for the elite few that are left-handed. The 13th of August is celebrated around the world by those who daily fit in with home and office layouts which have been designed for right-handers’ comfort. It is a day for the people who have to put up with corkscrews, scissors, doors, potato peelers, cookers, sinks, can openers, computer mice, keyboards and desks that are streamlined for right handers to use with ease. On a daily basis we contort ourselves using back-to-front gadgets and goodies, trying to negotiate our way through life.

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It would seem that the world has been out to get us lefties since the beginning of time and even though we are no longer thought to be witches and burnt at the stake and children are no longer forced to write with their right hand, the odds today still are not stacked in our favour. Despite all of this, I love the uniqueness that comes along with being left-handed. I can sit straight yet write on piece of paper that is 100% sideways, something that always gets right-handers to ask how I do that, I wear my watch on my right arm when everyone else wears it on their left arm and the best yet, I am ambidextrous in many things and can play a mean game of tennis or squash with killer-backhands, always ensuring that no matter where the ball is headed, I have it in the bag!

Both of my parents are right-handed, yet both my brother and I decided to do things different and both of us chose our left hand as our dominant hand.

Here are some fascinating facts about Lefties:

  • Men are slightly more likely to be left-handed than woman.
  • The chance of having a left-handed child is 1 in 10 if both parents are right-handed, 2 in 10 if one parent is left-handed, 1 in 4 if both parents are left-handed.
  • Left-handers are more accident prone because most tools and machinery are designed for right-handers.
  • The right hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body. This side of the brain usually controls intuition and reaction to the five senses.
  • More than 50% of left-handers do not know of any other left-hander anywhere in their living family.
  • Around 75% of left-handers have two right-handed parents and only 2% have two left-handed parents.

violinThere will always be disadvantages in life for left-handers:

  • Mastering the art of cutting a piece of paper with a scissors: It doesn’t cut properly, it is awkward and sore to hold the scissors in your fingers and did you know a left handed person using a right-handed scissors can cause RSI and carpal tunnel syndrome?
  • Remember those old school desks with the chair attached? It was designed for a right-handed person, allowing the person to sit down from the left hand side so that you can rest your right arm on the desk while writing. Maybe this is where I learnt to write with my note-book sideways!
  • Writing with pens and pencils and on a blackboard: When a left-handed person writes our hand trails over what we have just written. Now depending on the pen or pencil in question, this can lead to smudges all over the paper and leaves the hand covered in ink. If it’s a blackboard we are writing on in front of the class, don’t expect to read anything legitimate once we have removed our hand from the board because it all turns into one long smudge of chalk. On the other hand, this could make for a good excuse as to why you can’t go up to the front of the class.
  • Every played a game of cards? Simple right, but not so for a leftie. When a left-handed person fans the cards out, the numbers and suits cannot be seen. We either have to read the cards upside-down or fan them out the opposite way.
  • No one trusts you in the kitchen:  Operating a potato peeler for a leftie is completely and utterly pointless exercise. You hold it in your hand and run it over the potato and nothing happens simply because the blade is positioned on the other side, perfect for a right-handed person. At times the potato goes flying across the room one in one direction and the peeler goes off in the other direction. As a little girl I was watched closely by my mother as I attempted things in the kitchen, usually only to have whatever was in my hand taken away and I was given something less complicated in its place. I gave up with this totally pointless exercise many, many years ago and if I’m to be found peeling a potato now, I have a knife in hand. Even now, I still attract plenty of nervous sideways glances. Yes, today I can honestly blame my left-handedness on my sorrowful lack of culinary prowess in the kitchen.
  • Staying in the kitchen, let’s talk appliances: Everything is designed for a right-handed person. The fridge opens to the right, kettles, toasters, microwaves and any other kitchen appliance is designed for the right-handed person with all the buttons and gadgets to make it work on the right hand side of the appliance. I want my kettle and toaster to face the other way so I can work it with my left hand but should I do this, all the lights, buttons and things that make it work and look “pretty” now faces the wall.
  • Studies have shown that lefties are far more affected by fear: Yes, I have stopped watching Bates Motel late at night and I tend to stay away from horror movies in general as they seem to linger in my mind, far longer than they should. Having a brother named Jason certainly didn’t help matters when I was growing up and “Friday the 13th” was the highlight of the 80’s! And yes, I watched them all! I’m guess, considering I’m a leftie, it’s a good thing I don’t fear life itself!

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“God made everyone right-handed, the truly gifted overcome it.”

But despite the difficulties we as lefties have to overcome on a daily basis, there are plenty of advantages to being left-handed.

  • Lefties have a great chance of being a genius or having a higher IQ.  Albert Einstein, Aristotle, Charlie Chaplin, Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe and Michelangelo, to name a few, all belong to the exclusive lefties club.  Researchers aren’t sure why, but those who are left handed seem to make up a disproportionately large part of those who are highly intelligent. Some think that due to the fact that lefties are forced to use both side of their brain more often, this allows individuals to more easily process large amounts of information.
  • Lefties can read and write backward and upside-down.  Okay, in truth it’s not very useful, but it is way cool.
  • Lefties are adaptable because in a world that is dominated by right-handed products, us lefties are more easily adaptable to right-handed things than righties are to left-handed products. Right handed people may say they will never use left-handed products, but it certainly comes in handy when a leftie breaks an arm!
  • Some of the wealthiest people are left handed (Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey are amongst the richest people in the world) and recent studies have found that lefties with a university degree earned 10 to 15% more than their right-handed counterparts. Well, that certainly works for me!
  • New research suggests that left handed people often perform better than right-handers at fast and difficult tasks that involve lots of information or stimuli. Lefties may be better at playing fast computer games, talking while driving in heavy traffic and flying a jet fighter ~ all activities that need both hemispheres of the brain to process information quickly.
  • Lefties have a tactical advantage in one-on-one competition. Studies suggest that because lefties are in the minority, right-handed opponents are not used to their way of fighting and the element of surprise gives us lefties the advantage.
  • It is simply cool to be different!

“The right half of the brain controls the left half of the body. This means that only left handed people are in their right mind.” ~ Anonymous

Lefties, unfortunately, are rarely graceful as we rummage our way through a world dominated by right-hands. But I love my uniqueness, I love the extra’s I can do, I love being different and today I celebrate the fact that I am a proud member of the elite 10% !!

~ So Happy International Left Hand Day to all us wonderful left hand people of the world ~ Doing things differently since the beginning of time! ~

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