Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Left-handers’ Day – personal reflections

It is time once again to celebrate Left-handers’ Day. We even have an official website at Left-Handers' Day 2008. There are facts and trivia, quizzes and surveys, a contest, and a Left-hander of the Year competition. There’s even a song for lefties.

So, for the lefties in the audience, what has been your experience as a lefty? Has being a lefty been an asset or a hindrance? Do tell; we’re dying to know.

I wrote last year about some of my impressions of life as a lefty in On Being a Lefty. I still am weighing my overall perceptions of being left-handed but for the most part I have become more at home with it over the past few years. It still has its irritations thanks to the right-leaning culture (pun intended). However it doesn’t bother or hinder me nearly as much as it did when I was younger and trying to learn to do so many things all at once.

Mostly I don’t feel so much at odds with the right-handed world as I once did. I felt when I was younger, and I think in general most lefties do, that the whole left-hand right-hand thing was invented to make fun of us, or at least get our goat. (Why do I think somebody is not going to get that?)

When and how did this come about? I’ve been thinking about this from time to time recently and three points come to mind:

1) I have long-developed skills. Using flatware, scissors, pens and pencils, craft and construction tools are often second nature now,

2) I am less conscious (self-conscious) of how I use my hands compared to others around me.

3) I’m more of a risk taker now and I am more able to laugh at myself if I bumble at a new skill.

But I think it’s mostly because I have been nearly everywhere and seen lots of interpretations of the locally correct way to do most things which can vary greatly even among righties. The bottom line is that the world just isn’t that set in stone. If you get around to enough places in your life you will eventually find that your way of doing things whether a righty or a lefty is the correct way somewhere.

Do I think being a lefty is an advantage? Actually yes I do. I don’t know whether there is research to back this up but I sense that I have better access to both sides of my brain than most righties I know. Of course I have also met a number of people who informed me that my left-handed tendencies indicated that I had only half a brain. Well you know if that’s actually the case then I have an amazing half a brain.

So tell us whether or not you are left-handed; and what your take is on left-handedness based on your experience as a lefty or as a righty interacting with lefties.

Bonus: Here's a list of
famous left-handers on the Indiana U primates website (I'm not joking).

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