Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Go Hug a Lefty

Today is International Lefties Day.
I should start of by sending a little digital ((hug)) to all the lefties I know, and particularly to Mae, who made me hyper-aware of just how right-handed this world is. I have two grandfathers, two siblings, and two former roommates who are all lefties, so I have learned a little of what they face...
Grandpa always has to sit at the end of the table at family gatherings so that he doesn't bump elbows with people.
My other grandpa was forced to learn to write right-handed because the school system didn't accept his natural left-handedness (thankfully educational philosophy has developed a little since then!) He is actually completely ambidextrous because of that forced training.
Most scissors are right-handed, as are most kitchens (think about which side of the sink has the dish rack). Manual automobiles are right-handed everywhere except the UK. It's difficult for a left-hander to learn to write from left to right, as their hand is always covering the letter they have just formed...this means many of them struggle to write straight, or have slow or sloppy writing--it has nothing to do with intelligence, it's purely mechanical.
This article talks about some more of the complications (and benefits) of being left-handed. I just thought it was interesting.

A few famous lefties:
Leonardo da Vinci (who wrote lengthy diaries in 'mirror writing'. Reading/writing either direction is a skill often found among lefties, who seem to utilize different parts of their brain), Michaelangelo, Julius Caesar, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Colin Powell, Mahatma Ghandi, Helen Keller, Jack the Ripper, Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, Jay Leno, Buzz Aldrin, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein,
Fred Astaire, Chewbacca the Wookie (or, at least, the actor who played him!), Charlie Chaplin,
Robert DeNiro, Hugh Jackman, Brad Pitt,
Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Whoopi Goldberg, Hans Christian Anderson, Goethe, Lewis Carroll, Celine Dion, Jim Henson, Kermit the Frog, and Bear in the Blue House (yes, he made his puppets lefties too!)
This site has a fairly exhaustive list (I know Mae, you've probably already seen the site, but hey, you're a pretty lefty-conscious-lefty!)

So, Happy Left-Handers Day!


adria said...

Thanks for posting this. One of my children is a leftie as well, and I do think he is exceptionally bright and creative. And he doesn't do things the way most people do them, which is both a blessing and a challenge.

Mae said...

Here's a few lefty facts, for you, too! (Thanks for the omage, by the way...)

10% of the world population is left handed. Males tend to be left handed a little more often to women (think 10% male, 8% female).

However, something like 1/3 of the crew of the original Moon Landing were lefties! And the poor guy running the camera had a heck of a time because the space suit and the camera were severely left handed.

Oh, and since there's so much talk about Michael Phelps (go, Michael, go!) I'll leave off by saying Mark Spitz was a leftie, too.

But Ben Franklin will always be my favorite.

katef - said...

my DH is a leftie... drives me nuts sometimes but I still love him!

Becky said...

My son didn't start showing a preference for right- or left-handedness until he was almost three. My mom, who's a teacher, kept telling me to make him use his right hand because the lefties in her class struggled with certain things (like the ones mentioned in your post). Of course they struggled - it is a right-handed world, after all! But there was no way I was going to force him to be a righty; it actually raised quite a family debate. Turns out he's a righty after all, but at least he got to figure that out for himself.

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