Right-handed people usually have no idea, or give much thought to what the “lefties” (sometimes called ‘south paws’) in their circle of family and friends go through on a regular basis.
Simple things, like using devices designed for right-handers, is frustrating to left-handed folks, who represent 10 percent of the world’s population.
Take a look at a pair of scissors, or a can opener, or an ice cream scoop, and imagine what it’s like to clumsily use these items right-handed people take for granted on a daily basis.
One Fenton man, who declined to give his name, said he has lived his life reading the numbers on tape measures upside down.
“It’s just something you get used to,” he said.
Swiping a credit or debit card at any store is awkward for a left-hander, who must curl his arm around the entire device to get the card swiped correctly.
Coffee mugs with witty writings on the inside rim can only be read upside down by a left-hander. That’s because the handle is on the right side. Even if there’s a funny saying about being left-handed on the side of the mug, the handle is on the left side and the left-hander is the only one who can see the message, facing his own face.
In high school and college, it is a left-hander’s nightmare to walk into a classroom of desks with the small writing area on the right half of the seat.
“I used to use that as the armrest and used my arm to hold my notebook down so it didn’t flip over when I wrote in it,” said the Fenton man.
Speaking of notebooks, one might want to laugh when they see a left-hander trying to write in a spiral notebook or on a yellow legal tablet. It’s an exercise in contortion trying to get around the spiral wire or the top of the tablet.
“Smearing happens every time I try to write something, which is why I usually use a pencil,” he added.
Decals on pens are placed so only a right-handed person can read what it says.
Many products are made for both right- and left-handed people, such as baseball gloves, golf clubs, and firearms.
Married couples and other partners in life that are made up of one left-hander and one right-hander, have learned how to get along nicely — as long as the “leftie” stays on the left for everything, including walking, sitting down for a meal, sitting on a plane, the list goes on.
If you’re ambidextrous and can use both hands readily, congratulations, you are among the 1 percent of people in the world who can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Some famous ‘lefties’
Despite the difficulties they face in everyday life, it is believed that left-handed people are more creative than their counter parts. That could be evidenced by the long list of entertainers and others who are famous lefties. Some of them include:
Robert DeNiro, Angelina Jolie, Prince William, Robert Redford, President Barack Obama, Keanu Reeves, Jerry Seinfeld, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, former President Bill Clinton, Lady Gaga, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Tom Cruise, Tim Allen, Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno, Prince Charles, Celine Dion, Bill Gates, the late David Bowie, David Letterman, Jim Carrey and many more.
Right or left in history
The Ancient Greeks, even such intelligent and rational men as Plato and Aristotle, almost always associated the right with good and the left with evil and criminality. The great philosopher Plato was convinced that the limbs are naturally of equal strength and ability, and that any handedness is culturally imparted. In fact, he went so far as to blame left-handedness on inept mothers and nurses who failed to adequately school their children in the correct way of doing things. Aristotle, on the other hand, believed that a person’s handedness was natural and inherited.
The influential Ancient Romans were also very pro-right-handedness. According to some, wearing a wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand originated with the Romans, the idea being to fend off evil associated with the left-hand (or, possibly, the widely held belief that that finger was directly connected to the heart by a “love vein”). The modern practice of shaking right hands in greeting dates back to the Roman custom of touching right hands to demonstrate the absence of hidden weapons. Cynics claim that this ritual was positively encouraged by the notoriously paranoid Julius Caesar (who is also widely believed to have been left-handed, although again without evidence).
Ancient China had some very different beliefs regarding left and right, particularly as regards the Chinese dichotomy of yin and yang. Yin was associated with femininity, submission, blood and earth, but also with the right side, while yang was associated with masculinity, leadership, light, the sun and, perhaps surprisingly, the left side. Notwithstanding, though, China would go on to become one of the most outspoken protectors of right-handed dominance.