I confess. I have a flaw that dare not be mentioned in public. I am one of the ten percent who favour the left rather than the right.
Not politically you understand. I don’t have a secret yearning for the return of Gordon Brown (I find it difficult to say his name without following it up with “textured like sun, lays me down, with my mind he runs”, does that make me even more weird?), I will come out and say it straight.
I am left-handed.
You other 90%, you don’t know how lucky you are. There are obvious things that you probably chuckle about whilst mentally patting us on the head with a patronising “there, there, there”. Scissors. You’ll know about scissors. Pens. We lefties need adapted nibs on our fountain pens and non-smudge ink, the ballpoint pen is designed to be dragged along the page rather than be pushed across it. We have to contort our arms to write just to allow us to see what we’ve written. That is of course unless we are writing onto a document held in a ring binder. Unless you’ve wrists like Grace Kelly you may just as well forget it.
You younger right-handed people. Consider the game controller on your console. Which hand does all the work? Too right!
That’s another thing. Right is right. Left is sinister. When was the last time somebody said “He’s doing the left thing”? It’s always “Right at the top” and “left behind”. Pah.
You probably don’t realise that pretty much everything has a right-handed bias. Take a look at your carving knife. Is it honed on both sides? I thought not. When you are slicing into your Sunday roast the angle of the blade guides you gently towards the perfectly shaped piece of meat. For us it is a battle to stop the thing from slipping out of the meat altogether and castrating the cat instead (not that I would encourage having the cat anywhere near your Sunday dinner).
The computer that you are reading this on may well have a numeric keypad to allow speedy entry of data. I’ll bet it isn’t on the left hand side. That would be just wrong. Paul McCartney used to use an upside down guitar when composing songs – I think this goes some way to explaining the Frog Chorus.
We do strike it lucky in some areas. Because we spend life having to adapt to our surroundings we can prosper from those that don’t. Sports where the combatant uses a bat of any kind tend to have a significantly higher proportion of left-handed people than would be expected. In some of the more enlightened areas of the world, cars drive on the left hand side of the road. This seats the driver to the right of the vehicle and puts the gearchange on the left hand side. Hoorah! Changing gear in the UK comes more naturally for me than it does to a lot of people, at least it did until the introduction of automatics and “flappy paddle” gear changes.
I suspect a traditional rant about the challenges of being a southpaw should highlight the good and the great who have managed to survive the dangers we face – A study by Halpern S Coren in 1991 showed that right-handed people lived an average of 9 years longer than left-handers, making smoking 20 a day a more attractive life option than writing things with your left hand so we’re obviously doomed before we begin. To be fair, he whittled it down to a 2 year gap later on but I’m still a bit miffed that I will die before my younger brother just because I’m caggy.
I don’t know whether the next point is a good one or a bad one. Half of all US presidents since JFK have been left-handed. Those who came before Kennedy were predominately righties, but in the good old days being left-handed was the sign of the devil so children were forced to become right-handed so there may have been some earlier ones as well.
Give it some thought right-handers. Next time you are using your measuring jug to get just the correct amount of fluid, what side are the measures written on in comparison to the handle? What way round are you laying out the knife and fork at the dinner table?
This rant was inspired by the WordPress Daily post prompt No fair.
You can read some other fully justified and far more adult posts here.