Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Perils of Being Left-Handed

I've been a lefty for as long as I can remember.



I had to use the left-handed scissors while making things in kindergarten. On the first day of each school year, I would make sure to sit at a desk that had the arm part on the left side. These desks were harder to come by in high school, so I eventually just got used to sitting in a right-handed one (when taking tests, I would sit facing the right a bit so that my left arm could be supported at least somewhat by the top portion of the desk).

In junior high, my father wanted me to take up golfing, so got me a set of left-handed ones. Turned out that I'm right-handed when it comes to golf (same for bowling, baseball, foosball, etc.) I can use a computer mouse with either hand, though I favor the right.

What percentage of the population is left-handed? Approximately 7 to 10. It's more common in males than females. A recent book called "Right Hand, Left Hand" argues that the proportion of left-handers is rising and left-handed people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers. The author says that left-handers' brains are structured differently in a way that widens their range of abilities.

Three of the last four Presidents have been left-handed (W. being the exception). Both Obama and McCain are also Southpaws. Other famous lefties: Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Aristotle, Charlemagne, Julius Caesar, Paul McCartney, Michelangelo, Leonardo DaVinci, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman, Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Robert DeNiro, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Keanu Reeves, Jerry Seinfeld, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Celine Dion, Jimi Hendrix, Sting, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Babe Ruth, Greg Louganis, Mark Spitz, Bruce Jenner, Dorothy Hamill, Larry Bird, Jimmy Conners, John McEnroe, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Colin Powell, Albert Einstein, and Oprah.

13 comments:

Mags said...

You're lucky that you had left handed scissors in school-they never had them for me. AND in junior high I never got a lefty desk. It was very uncomfortable. Thankfully in high school we had full desks so it was nicer.

In college I'd find the lefty desk and move it on the first class-no one wanted to sit in it, so I always got it. :)

We had a special test in FLorida that we had to pass in college in order to continue our education. It was a very big deal and I knew that I'd be uncomfortable if I had to use a righty desk, so I called the testing facility and told them that they had to have a lefty desk. They fought me for a few minutes until I explained how they'd feel-when I got there, it was waiting. :)

Sarah said...

my dad, brother and grandmother are all left-handed. naturally, i was jealous and tried to re-train myself around the age of 8. mystery why that didn't work...

Thomas said...

Wow, I feel your pain, Mags. Good to hear you really stood up for yourself in Florida (which is more than I can say for Al Gore eight years ago). Great idea to play the empathy card with the testing facility.

Sarah, very interesting. Over history, many lefties have tried to go right because they wanted to be like everyone else. Actually doing it, though, is about as likely as turning gays straight (or me into a Republican).

houstonmacbro said...

You are a rare-bird indeed. I am right-handed but prefer my left hand for eating ... weird huh?

Anyhow, me and some classmates were having this exact same conversation yesterday.

Weird huh?

Thomas said...

Houston, that is weird. I actually wrote this post a couple weeks ago, so easily preceded your conversation from yesterday. :P

Brian said...

I'm right handed but can bat left. Not really as I can from the right side. Sounds tough being a lefty. When I was a kid, my dad set me up to get guitar lessons with a lefty. It was very confusing. :)

Side Note: I'm getting a ton of hate mail from the Top Punk Bands post. I even had one comment that told me to Fing kill myself. :)

Melvin Udall said...

I am left-handed and when I was in junior school used to be hit across the knuckles with a ruler for using my left hand to write with. The teacher's name was Miss Smith, I still remember her after all these years. It was along time ago and she was very "old school" even then, but to this day my hand writing is terrible... I could shoulder the blame myself but Miss Smith comes in handy for that one!!

Thomas said...

Brian, I was wondering why you were moderating your comments now. When someone puts a best-of list together, people really take it personally when your rankings are different from theirs.

Melvin, I've heard stories about the ruler, so sad to think that many looked at their handedness as a curse rather than a gift.

My handwriting is also terrible which is why I always printed when answering essay questions in high school and college.

Brian said...

I expected to take some heat, but some of the anonymous comments have been really bad. I have thick skin, but I just don't want to ruin my site with too many flagrant comments. Especially since the template I am using adds them to the sidebar. I have published all the ones that weren't telling me to F Off or referenced killing me. :)

I actually started out by just digging into a genre and finding some concert footage, then I decided to try and rank them.:)

I don't really like moderating comments. I'll change it back after the storm starts to settle.

Rachel said...

I was ambidextrous in kindergarten and first grade, but at some point in first grade I quit writing with my right hand.

Rocketstar said...

We do live in a right handed society.

Carole Seawert said...

I didn't even know there were such things as left-handed scissors when I was at school!
Strange about all those left-handed presidents. We've only had two left-handed prime ministers in the UK: Churchill and Callaghan (he was in the 70s). However, the current leader of the opposition is left handed so maybe we'll get a third in the next year or so...

Timothy Smith said...

I hear ya Brian, I was on a forum that was discussing the top influential bands of all time. Bands like the Rolling Stones, Zeppelin etc made sense to me. But it was only a top 10 list so I commented on the fact that other bands had more of an impact then RadioHead.

I was not trashing the band but simply felt they were not in the top 10 of all time. I got a death threat as a response!

Some people take their top ten lists a little too seriously.