Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Being a Lefty

I'm left handed. The few things I do with my right hand include throwing a frisbee and using scissors. Righties, take a scissor and try cutting with your left hand. You can't, not to mention it hurts a lot.

When I was a child, my mother bought me left handed scissors (which I still have) and a left handed ruler. She bought them in a store at the World Trade Center. The latter had the inches and centimeters going from left to right instead of right to left, and broke. More of a gag gift than anything else. I've been trying to find a replacement but haven't been able to. But the scissors, those were great. Imagine using scissors with your left hand! No pain. And the scissors cut! But of course, due to conditioning, I would still use them with my right hand about half the time. My desk at home had the drawers built into the left side, not the right.

Being left handed in a right handed world isn't always easy. Your computer mouse is probably molded for your right hand. Power tools, right handed. Reading whatever is on your coffee mug? Only if you use your right hand. Small things, like the remote control for my speakers - if you hold it with your left hand, your palm covers the "mute" button. The location on the right side is empty. No, I haven't accidentally muted my speakers. Yet.

Left handed people are said to be smarter and are visual learners. I've heard that they're better at math but not art from some and art but not math from others. I'm a visual guy. I love flowcharts, picturing arguments in my head, and graphs.

Not sure if we are smarter, but I do remember reading that left handed people aren't smarter, but are more varied. Take 100 right handed and 100 left handed people. The right handed ones will have 10 geniouses, 10 idiots and 80 average. Lefties...20 geniouses, 20 idiots and 60 average. Maybe that explains the higher rates of learning disabilities. Bored in elementary school I taught myself to read and write in mirror image. Not a problem at all. When a right handed student sees a right handed teacher writing on the board, he can copy the teacher. The left handed student has to mirror the teacher.

Forget about writing. Southpaws are known to have horrible penmanship. In elementary school no one would write on the back of the page. What happend? Left handed students would only be able to write with their hands coming up against the binding. For those that know me, check out my hand position when I write. One time my elementary school assistant principal was "inspecting" our notebooks. He asked if my notebook was really mine, since the notes seemed to be taken with two different handwritings. Having gotten sick of my hand bumping up against the notebook spirals, I switched hand position. In high school I switched to notebooks with the spirals on top and haven't gone back. Saved me lots of pain.

Not to mention smearing your work as your hand passed over it. Sort of like what you righties do in Hebrew. And in english, left handed people have to push their pens, while right handed people pull, another minor but annoying difference when you spend hours writing. Maybe that's why I do everything on computer. I've been using computers for 17 years and though its harder to make graphs and charts, I much prefer it to writing.

What's the point of this post? I don't really have one. Just some thoughts on being left handed in a right handed world. Please add your experiences in the comments, I need to get to sleep.