Some of my best friends are left-handed

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I think part of the reason I am so open-minded is because of where I was raised. A few blocks over from our neighborhood in New Jersey, literally on the "other side of the tracks," there was a community of lefties that I had to walk past every day going to and from St. Agnes Catholic School.

"Who are all the people who live in those funny houses?" I remember once asking my mom - I was probably in first grade at the time - "with the front doors right NEXT TO the car ports and the downspouts all feeding off to the left?"

"Those are the left-handed peoples' houses, honey," she said to me, "They build them that way because it's easier for them to get around in."

Then my dad called in from the other room "Don't you go talkin' to any of them 'Lurches' on your way home, you just walk straight home from school, y'heah?"

My mom scolded him as she often would and said to me, "Don't ever use that word. Just because people favor their left hand doesn't mean they're any different than you or me. They can go on to lead remarkably productive lives. President Coolidge was left-handed: Don't ever forget that."

Now, so many years later, I still live by those words.

Just a few years ago I even hired a lefty. I walked into the conference room where he was completing the aptitude test and quickly averted my eyes (like I always do).

The rest of the interview was barely strained at all, save for me consciously trying to avoid using the words "right" or "left" and ultimately I hired the fellow. After we bought the appropriate furniture for his office he worked out just fine.

I have found that giving directions is my biggest challenge when interacting with lefties. I just hate to use the words, I don't know why. So I tend to say things like "when you get to Blossom Boulevard turn towards the big water tower on the far side of town" or "go to the first traffic light and take a turn in the direction of your gas pedal." It works out pretty good, I must say. But sometimes I just have to break down and give the directions in Spanish.

If anyone has any edifying or heart-warming stories about your personal interactions with the "differently-handed" folks, please pass them along. I think there are some lefties in the world feeling a little bit left out and who could use a little love right about now.

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8 Comments

charles said:

You know, this post would have made more sense on August 13 (National Lefthanders Day).

I must be tired. I know there's some witty subliminal message there, some deep philosophical point, but I'm missing it.

Must be because I'm one of those left-handed people you're father so poigniantly named.

While I'm pretty sure nobody's building us special houses, I do have a few left-handed things you may not have thought about.

Like, for example, a left-handed notebook. See, I fill in my notebooks from back to front, writing on what you would call the "backside" of the pages, so my hand/arm don't have to sit over the uncomfortable binding. They make notebooks with the "front cover" on the back (although that is really a luxury item, any notebook can be used backwards).

A pen -- in the "olden days" ink didn't dry so quickly, but my left-handed pens had special ink that would dry instantly so my hand rubbing over the letters just written would not smudge.

You are probably aware of scissors (the crossing levers are opposite righty scissors) and school desks (you sit into them from the right, rather than from the left).

I thought there were special left-handed shirts, but it turned out it's just that for some reason women's shirts button the opposite way. I bet there's something about men not being able to figure out how to take them off otherwise, but I'm not sure. :-)

You of course know of left-handed baseball gloves, but there is also left-handed can openers.

One of the most puzzling (until you understand it) left-handed product? Left-Handed playing cards.

To figure it out, get out your regular deck of cards, deal yourself a poker hand, and spread it out in your hand.

Now, spread it the OTHER direction. Notice the white space in the corners? Left-handed cards are printed there.

Anyway, thanks for this chance for us lefties to get the recognition we so eagerly avoid.

zimzo said:

So all these years you have been wearing women's shirts, Charles, and you didn't know it? I don't know how you're fellow conservatives are going to feel about your cross-dressing but the gay community is quite welcoming of transgendered people like yourself.

The message between the lines is pretty abstruse, intended for an audience of approximately two, though I hoped some other readers would labor through it as well.

Charles, that is interesting information! Are you joking about the notebooks - I mean, if you are, that's a pretty good joke I must say.

charles said:

It would be a pretty good joke, but it's true. (obviously putting the name of the company on the back is just a marketing ploy, as is much of the "left-handed" stuff.

I guess if you write on both sides of the paper it doesn't matter. But I'll tell you, its a BIG DEAL if you are writing on loose pages in a 3-inch 3-ring binder.

charles said:

Zimzo,

Haven't I said that there's a lot about me that people are just assuming incorrectly?

Did you know I posted that I cried on thursday talking about Allen's mother?

And you should see my college pictures.


On a more serious note, my wife tells me women's shirts are buttoned backwards because in the past other people would dress the women. The buttons and holes are swapped so the right-handers have an easier time with them.

TO which I replied that, then, I was RIGHT about men and undressing. She left after that.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

I would like to take this opportunity to say that I do not believe that the use of the phrase "shove it" is necessary to make a point, and I shall refrain from using it in the future.

I would like to refer everyone to the following website for a list of famous people who have managed to succeed in the face of prejudice and adversity:

http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/left.html

Thank you

;)

Well, I'll still defend to the death your right to say it.

Boy this list is illuminating. I can feel a bit of agitprop brewing, which would begin thusly: "Bill Clinton, Fidel Castro, Tom Cruise, the Boston Strangler and Wink Martindale all shared the same dirty little secret..."

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

yes, it is an eclectic cross section of society, isn't it

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