You see them on the streets, in class and at work. Most likely you’re related to one. And if you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve only known one president who wasn’t this.
I’m talking, of course, about lefties, southpaws, Satan’s minions, left-handed people.
By now you’ve probably figured out I’m left-handed. And I love being left-handed. It’s something different, as only 10% of the world’s population can claim this status. In a world full of people doing things the same way, it’s a chance to stand out and do things a little differently. It’s a popular trait in the Davis family. By the time children hit two the family will start to ask “is he/she left-handed?” and will not stop until a preference is known. It’s the white smoke of the Davis clan.
It’s an automatic conversation starter between two lefties, as they’ll immediately launch into “how left-handed are you?” This may not be an interesting conversation to right-handed people, but it’s a topic of endless fascination to us who are not. When someone tells me that they use their left-hand for writing and eating but not for batting or bowling, I’m genuinely interested. I’m also a little disappointed when someone says they’re “left-handed,” but only eats or does some other task left-handed. As someone whose right hand is essentially just here for symmetry, I tend to go for left-hand or bust. Still, being able to do any fine motor skill activity with your left hand should be celebrated.
But being left-handed is not all fun and games. In fact, there are even games you can’t play left-handed, like polo (sorry to both Prince Charles and Wills, both lefties). Life as a leftie in a right-handed world can be a little bit frustrating. Things are really just not made for us. Subway cards scan on the right. Watches wind on the right. Gears and shifts in cars on the right. Witty sayings on coffee mugs are lost on the drinker holding the handle in her left hand. Scissors cut wrong. Desks have arm rests on the right. And can openers. Do NOT even get me started on can openers. I have to get my roommate to open my tuna. Can openers are my mortal enemy, as far as I’m concerned.
The bad news just keeps coming for lefties. Up until (late) last century, left-handedness was mostly discouraged. My great-aunt used to tell me that they would tie her left hand behind her back in school to keep her from using it (didn’t work; she was left-handed until the day she died). And did I say last century, because people are still trying to condemn all lefties to hell. Yikes. There’s also a legend amongst lefties that thousands of us die or are injured every year by trying to use right-handed tools. If that’s the case, left-handedness can be a leading cause of death. A silent killer, taking down lefties on average nine years sooner than righties. What a bummer.
Still, as much of a pain it can be to be left-handed, there are some great parts about it too. Some things, like playing the French Horn or writing Hebrew, are easier (both of which I can do). We also have some heavy hitters in our roster: Leonardo di Vinci, Jon Stewart, Dave Barry, Paul McCartney, Nikola Telsa, Bill Gates, Tron. The list goes on and on. And we’re known to be smarter, more rebellious, more creative, and all around more badass.
So, while it may be more convenient for dinner parties to have everyone eat and cut with the same hand, I’ll take my left-handedness any day. It helps to make life a little more interesting.