Only 13% of the world is left handed, the rest are you. We are often ambidextrous. Lefthandedness is an advantage in some sports and games, like baseball, boxing, tennis, and bowling. There are times when it is a real problem. I never had a pair of left handed scissors until I was well into adulthood. I hear there is a left handed store at Pier 29 in San Francisco. August 13th is national lefthanders day.
Left handedness is more common in males than females. It seems to occur more frequently in identical and fraternal twins. In our Japanese culture, I was highly encouraged to be right handed. I remember coming home from school and walking over the my Grandmother and Grandfather’s house across the street. They had me write my lessons with my right hand. The first baseball glove I had was for a right hander. But, I play golf right handed, tennis left handed, and I kicked field goals and punts in football right footed.
There are many, not so nice terms used for lefties. The latin word sinister, means left. Southpaw is a term for a left handed pitcher in baseball or softball. I have heard port sider. In some countries we have visited, the right hand is used for eating, the left hand for toilet duty. They call the golfer, Phil Mickelson by the nickname, “Lefty”, but he is really right handed. He learned to golf by standing across from his right handed father, and mimicking his swing!
Many tools and implements are made for right handers, such as computer mouse, scissors, cooking knives, funnels, fishing reels, fountain pens, firearms, and textbooks. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University showed lefthanders who attended college were 15% richer than right handers. It goes up to 26% if they graduated from college. But it does not apply to women.
But left handers have an above average quota of high achievers. Left-handers’ brains are structured differently in a way that widens their range of abilities, and the genes that determine left-handedness also govern development of the language centers of the brain. I don’t think that has helped me in my quest to learn foreign languages.
Some famous lefties: Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, GHW Bush, Ben Franklin, Nelson Rockefeller, Joan of Arc, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Fidel Castro, Henry Ford, Albert Schweitzer, Ted Koppel, David Letterman, F. Lee Bailey, the Boston Strangler, John Dillinger, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Phil Collins, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Michelangelo, Leonardo DaVinci, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Greta Garbo, Angelina Jolie, Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, Robert Redford, Jerry Seinfeld, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Larry Bird, Steve Young, and Ross Perot.
Statistics show left-handed people are more likely to be schizophrenic, alcoholic, delinquent, dyslexic, and have Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as mental disabilities. They’re also more likely to die young and get into accidents. The same reason so many left-handed people are successful in sports could also explain a possible higher success rate among lefties in primitive combat. This means that, back in the days when fighting was an important part of survival and winning mates, the rare left-hander may have come out on top more often. Four of the 5 original designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed. One in 4 Apollo astronauts were left-handed – 250% more than the normal level.
Christianity is strongly based towards the right hand. It is the right hand that gives the blessing and make the sign of the cross. The bible contains over 100 favourable reference to the right-hand and 25 unfavourable references to the left-hand. E.g.: The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted (Psalm 118 vv15,16).
Enough for the facts. Let me tell you about being left handed. Writing has always been a problem since I was taught incorrectly. I think it was about the 3rd or 4th grade where this happened. I should have been taught correctly. My handwriting is poor at best. I would have made a great physician. Other than this problem, my education was fine. The desks were made for righties as well. I have teased people about some of my things being made for lefties only, like kitchen tools, pocket knives, pencils, and tape measures. Not true!
As far as music, I did not have a problem with the piano, saxophone or guitar. In sports, I enjoyed being left handed. It was a big advantage in baseball, and tennis. Working as a pharmacist was a problem at first. The counting trays are made for right handers. So I had to move the spatula from right to left with my left hand, basically backwards. Many of the tools in my Dad’s shop were for righties. The lathe was set up for righties. Most of his workstations were for righties. Adding machines, slide rules, and calculators were a problem as well.
Now I skiied with no problem, although I had a strong side(the right). I learned to golf right handed since I could bat both ways in baseball. My baseball coach in high school switched me to right handed exculsively, since he said I had more power. But my putting is my weak spot, probably because of my dominant eye.
I bought my first pair of left handed scissors many years back. Not only did I figure that I could finally cut a straight line, but that I had a pair of scissors that were mine alone. But imagine my surprise when the scissors could not be found. It turns out my daughter Sarah would use them, never realizing they were for left handers. I have never been to one of those left hander’s stores, but I think it would be alot of fun.
As I look around me, I still see a lot of right hand prejudice. Just look at this computer. The mouse and number key pad are on the right. Most workstations are set up for righties. Most doors in our homes have the handles on the right. The car is set up for righties, with the key, gear shift, radio, and controls on the right. Bicycles and motocycles are another issue.
The checks we write are for right handers. The three hole punch for paper, the binder that holds the papers, all right handed. Soup ladles are another problem, as are spouts on containers like measuring cups. The controls on the microwave oven, and dishwasher are for righties. Oh, and the golf scorecard is another issue. Now I do not want to sound like I am complaining. I think I have done fairly well in a right handed world.
There are some things that have been made for me, such as custom suits and shirts. I know my left side is larger, especially my shoulder and forearm. But I still wear my wedding ring and watch on the left side. I string my belt as a righty. I would imagine if I were in the trades, I would have problems with the necessary equipment.
Now that I am retired, it does not matter.