Born to be 'sinastra' his excuse

Desks, bank pens still a challenge

Leftists always want to circle around subjects rather than addressing any subjects directly. Leftist reactions are always histrionic. -- Dave Sim

I'm a leftist. In fact, for as long as I can remember that's how I have self-identified. It always seemed to be the right thing for me. It was lonely; no one else in my family was that way. But before you think reading this you have somehow inadvertently turned to the editorial page, let me reassure you: I am left-handed.

According to Kevin Laland, a professor of behavioral biology at the University of St. Andrews, globally approximately 90 percent of people are right-handed. He goes on to relate there are strong cultural influences on what he calls handedness where being left-handed is frowned upon. In China, the number of school children who write left-handed is only 3.5 percent and in neighboring Taiwan, the figure is .07 percent.

There is, in fact, a long history of discrimination against being left-handed in many parts of the world including many European countries and the Middle East. Consider the word itself: The English word for left comes from the Old English "lyft," meaning idle, useless or weak. The French word for left, gauche, also means clumsy or awkward; and the Latin word for left is "sinistra," from which our English word sinister comes. See what I was dealing with from such an early age!

It only got worse for me. One day in sixth-grade history, our teacher told us the custom of shaking hands with the right originated because the left hand was used for personal hygiene purposes. For the rest of the week my classmates kept asking why I wrote with my "poop hand." Speaking of school, my struggles never ended. Many of my classes had right-handed desks, which I was humiliatingly forced to use with no support for my left elbow. (It obviously had an impact on me besides the emotional toll: To this day, my handwriting is admittedly almost illegible.)

As I got older I fortunately began to communicate on what today we would call the dark web, seeking the hidden truth about left-handers. What I learned is that we lefties are secretly superior in intellect and reason to the mob-oriented right-handed slobs. Also, being left-handed supposedly put "us" in touch simultaneously with our feelings and intellect unlike the less sophisticated righties. In plain English, that meant that women would always prefer a left-handed man compared to the brutish and insensitive right-handed cavemen. While I was left to ponder when that exactly was going to kick in -- so to speak -- for me, more bad news appeared.

Joshua Goodman, an economist at Harvard University, released a lengthy report of so-called statistical data he collected that said, "Lefties exhibit economically, and statistical human capital deficits related to righties. ... Lefties score lower on measures of cognitive skills." While I was neither consulted, nor did I participate in Goodman's purported scientific study, I can offer anecdotal evidence that you try taking a cognitive test left-handed sitting in a right-handed desk and see how well you do! To showcase my Latin education perfectly: very sinistra indeed.

With the benefit of wisdom that my readers have come to rely on from me, I can now conclude that growing up lefty in a right-handed world was good for me. I learned adaptability, such as writing in spiral or binder notebooks (yeah, there is metal where my hand sits!), that teachers bought my poor-handwriting excuses due to being left-handed, and how to sign my name using a pen with a chain attached to the right side of the counter.

I always knew my heroic struggles to succeed were against the odds, and these studies undoubtedly confirm it. So, in good company of my peers such as Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Napoleon and Leonardo Da Vinci, I rest my case. (Author's note: Not to be gauche, but we edited out left-handed Presidents Reagan, H.W Bush, Clinton and Obama to keep this column strictly apolitical.)

NAN Our Town on 03/07/2019

Upcoming Events