Happy Left-Handers’ Day!
Being left-handed… gives me a razor-thin view of what it’s like to be a minority. As a left-hander, I’m discriminated against all the time. Not for serious things: I am not denied housing, medical care, a job, a seat on the bus. But I experience anti-lefty bias in the form of school desks that are unusable, carrot peelers that are useless, power tools (such as skill saws) that are dangerous or even life-threatening, pens that smear and make my writing illegible, computer mice that cause hand cramps. Teachers in England tried to force me to write with my right hand when I was a child; I used to stutter, and perhaps that was why.
Language certainly discriminates against the left-hander: A “left-handed compliment” is not something you want to hear; the word for “left” in French is gauche, and in Latin it’s sinister; in contrast, from the French word for “right,” droit, we get the English word adroit, and Latin for right is dexter (from which we get such words as dexterous). Ambidextrous means literally “both right.”
Am I “in my right mind”? Current research can’t prove whether or not lefties really do tend towards right-brain dominance. Would right-sphere specialization explain why I think of myself as creative? I would swear being left-handed helps my Tetris scores (thanks to all that visualization of abstract geometric shapes, which we lefties are famous for).
Who would I be if I was right-handed? Not the same person. Left-handedness is part of my identity, my self. I would sooner cut off my right arm than be converted to right-handedness; as strong a statement as that is, left-handedness is so integral a part of me that I could not imagine living otherwise. (www.42inc.com/~estephen/facts/lefthand.html)
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