Lefthanded people were once believed to be born of the devil and were called sinistral, from the word sinister. When printing and handwriting were taught in school, lefties were forced to write with their right hand to avoid becoming evil children. Of course, we know how effective this was in getting rid of evil in our world. Now, however, Lefthanders Day (August 13) celebrates all that is unique about the lefties in your life.
Lefties have been lamenting for years about how they have been born into a righthanded world, and there are definite challenges to being lefthanded. Three-ring binders are the bane of the high school lefties’ collective existence, and the smudge that ultimately occurs on your hand from using a pencil and sometimes a pen is more than a little annoying. We live in a world where writing is done from left to right, so lefties ultimately watch helplessly, contorting their hands and fingers into uncomfortable positions in the hopes of salvaging something of their chemistry teacher’s notes for the day.
It has been said before that lefties are the only ones in their right minds, given the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. Certainly, this has sparked many jokes, given there have been some psychopaths who are also lefties. However, there is more to being lefthanded than just having the right side of the brain in control.
Four out of the last seven presidents were lefties: Obama, Clinton, Reagan, and Ford. This could be a huge coincidence or a reflection of the sometimes creative thought that is required as one of the leaders of the free world. Lefties also tend to earn less than their righthanded counterparts, according to research from a 2014 Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government study, which showed that lefties earned 10 to 12 percent less. This is in direct opposition to a 2006 study that came out from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which said that lefties earned 15 percent more.
Famous lefties go beyond presidential power. One of the greatest rappers of recent years, Eminem, is a leftie, as are recording artists Phil Collins and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins. Simpsons creator Matt Groening is also a leftie, joining the esteemed ranks of such stars as Dick Van Dyke, Oprah Winfrey, and Julia Roberts.
While there are distinct challenges to being a leftie — using scissors and finding an auditorium desk at university that doesn’t have just a righthanded writing surface — there is definitely a lot to celebrate for lefties. We are a unique bunch, since lefties comprise only about 10 percent of the population, and although there are some distinct challenges, we wouldn’t change a thing… except maybe the smudge.
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