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About 10% of the population is left-handed.  Our daughter is left-handed even though both of her parents are right-handed.  So, what happened?  Is being born with the dominant hand being the left one blamed on genetics?


Lefties have had a tough time over the centuries overcoming their “handicap”.  Beginning at the time of the Industrial Revolution, workers needed to operate complex machines that were almost certainly designed with right-handers in mind.  This would make the leftie appear less capable and clumsier.


During this period schools invariably forced the left-handed student to learn to write with their right hand.  They were learning to write with a dip pen which right-handers could smoothly drag across paper from left to right, but this would not work as well if a leftie was dragging his hand over the wet ink.


Over the centuries left-handed people have been considered unlucky or even malicious for their difference by the right-handed majority.  Throughout history, being left-handed was considered negative.  The Latin adjective sinister means “left” as well as “unlucky”.


There are many negative connotations associated with the phrase “left-handed”: clumsy, awkward, unlucky, insincere, sinister, malicious, and so on.  A “left-handed compliment” is considered one that is unflattering.  Even Black Magic is sometimes referred to as the “left-hand path”.


But now, in the new era of reasoning, there have been discovered several weird advantages of being left-handed.  So, all you south-paws out there can appreciate the following surprising facts:


First, lefties make up only about 10% of the population, but studies find that individuals who are left-handed score higher when it comes to creativity, imagination, day dreaming, and intuition.  They are also better at rhythm and visualization.

Second, they are in some good company.  Benjamin Franklin and Henry Ford are listed as left-handed, along with four of the last five U.S. presidents.  England’s Prince William is a lefty.  Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Renoir made the list as well.


Thirdly, left-handed stroke victims reportedly recover faster.  It is believed that it’s due to the left-handed people having to strengthen both sides of their brain to succeed in a right-handed world.  Because many lefties are better at using their non-dominant hand, it is less difficult for them to recover from a stroke that damages one part of their brain.


Fourth, left-handers may have the edge in competitions where opponents face each other, such as tennis, baseball, and boxing.  This may be due to the fact that left-handers have more opportunity to practice against right-handed opposition.


Fifth, the word is that left-handed college graduates go on to become 26 percent richer than right-handed students. In addition, four of the five original designers of the Macintosh (Apple) computer are listed as lefties.


Sixth, there are stores devoted to selling practical and novelty items to left-handed people.  Online shops offer everything from left-handed mugs and kitchen sets, to school and office supplies, clothing, and “backwards” watches and clocks.


According to myth, giving a toast with your left hand is the same as placing a curse on the person you are saluting.  When Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, depictions showed her as being left-handed, in order to appear more evil.  Left-handers were also harshly discriminated against during the 18th and 19th centuries, and it was often “beaten out” of them.


But all you lefties have something to look forward to.  Every August 13th is declared “International Left-Hander’s Day”.  It was founded in 1990 by the “Left-Hander’s Club”, an annual event when left-handers everywhere can celebrate their left-handedness.  Thousands of left-handed people in today’s society have to adapt to use right handed tools and objects. The festivities include left-v-right sports matches, a left-handed tea party, and pubs using left-handed corkscrews, and playing games with the left hand only.


I understand that now days school teachers do not force lefties to learn to write with their right hand, but allow the students to use whichever hand is more comfortable.  I think that is good progress.  Being left-handed appears to have some advantages as mentioned above.  I will have to consult my left-handed daughter about this.



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