The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

September 12, 2013

Left-handed people: The right way to be

Thursday, September 12, 2013 — I’ve got a confession to make. It’s not something everyone knows about and it’s not something I typically toot my own horn a lot about either. But it’s who I am and will always be, and I’m afraid there’s no changing it no matter what people say or try to do.

Yes, it’s true. I’m a lefty, living in a righty world.

By lefty, I mean I’m left-handed. You weren’t thinking politics, were you? If you know me, you’ll quickly realize that’s the farthest thing from the truth. Not all members of the “left-leaning” media are actually, well, lefties.

Being left-handed truly puts me in the minority with the rest of the people on this planet. It’s estimated that only 10 percent of the world’s nearly 7.2 billion people are left-handed. And of those, only 12 percent of men are left-handed.

If two left-handed people have a child, there’s only a 26 percent chance that child will be left-handed. And society in general is doing its best to make the world of lefties all the more difficult with scissors, desks and kitchen utensils made more for right-handed people.

I could say it’s why I don’t cook anymore, but the truth is my wife is much better at it than I am.

But being left-handed does have its advantages.

In the book “Right-Hand, Left-Hand,” author Chris McManus argues that the proportion of left-handers is increasing, and left-handed people have historically been above-average quota of high achievers. Left-handers are said to be faster at processing multiple stimuli than righties. Left-handers are also thought of as superior when it comes to survival of the fittest and are tops in man-on-man combat.

Pffft. Tell me something I don’t already know. Hello, Rocky Balboa … left-handed.

When I was learning to write, my mom didn’t try to convert me to the dominant side of right-handed people. Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, had her father switch her from being a lefty to a righty. In her book "Miles To Go" she wrote her father taught her to use her right hand because he said left-handers have to learn the whole world backwards.

Here-in lies her problem … or at least part of it.

My mom did her part to make sure when I wrote left-handed, I wouldn’t end up looking like I was trying to swallow the entire paper with my arm. People have often complimented me on my handwriting … even though I’m left-handed. I could take that as a back-handed remark, but hey, it’s a compliment. You take ‘em when you can get ‘em.

I don’t place my hand at the top of the paper like most lefties do when they write. When I see someone do that, I feel it brings great shame upon the House of the Left. I want to go up to them, smack them in the back of the head and say “Didn’t your mamma teach you better?”

Like so many lefties in this world, we’ve learned to adapt to the righty world. Still, we lefties have to stick together. There’s not many of us out there and the fight to stay relevant is getting harder and harder.

So when it comes to sports, pull for Rafael Nadal, a lefty, over any other tennis player. Phil Mickelson is the greatest golfer the world has ever seen. Tiger who? Please!

Of the top 20 batters in Major League Baseball history based on statistical data, 16 of them were left-handed. Four of the past six presidents were left-handed, including President Obama. Late-night talk show is dominated by lefties with Jay Leno and David Letterman. Bruce Willis and Oprah Winfrey are left-handed. So is Bart Simpson, even if he only has four fingers.

Then again, other lefties include Richard Simmons and Jack the Ripper.

I guess everybody’s got their black sheep.

I missed out on International Left-handers Day a few weeks back. I should remember the date, Aug. 13, because it’s two days after one of my nephews’ birthdays and a day after one of my sisters. But I am forgetful, so I could blame it on that.

Then again, because I didn’t hear it promoted by the left-leading media, it was probably a conspiracy to keep us lefties down.

To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at (704) 982-2121 ext. 21 or email at jason@stanlynewspress.com.

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