International Left Handers Day is an international day observed annually on August 13 to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left handers. The day was first observed in 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, Inc.
International Left Hander’s Day was created to celebrate sinistrality and raise awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world. It celebrates left-handed people’s uniqueness and differences, a subset of humanity comprising seven to ten percent of the world’s population. The day also spread awareness on issues faced by left-handers e.g. the importance of the special needs for left-handed children, and the likelihood for left-handers to develop schizophrenia. There are approximately 708 million left-handed people in the world. Men are more likely to be left handed than women.Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I don’t talk about this subject much. I don’t know too many of the southpaws who do. It is cross we bear, like the torture devices created by right-handed people for right handed people. Things like scissors and saws and clipboards. Equipment virtually designed to maim and handicap those people who dare to grab them with the other hand rather than the right one.
We don’t talk about it because there is little point in doing so. Most people don’t like to complain or to be known as complainers. But it bears mentioning, just this once, that someone says “Oh, you’re left-handed?” in a surprised voice every single time we pick up a writing implement or flip papers upside down on a clipboard. Someone asks that question of us repeatedly as if the fact of this isn’t apparent to us every time we try to use your specially crafted torture devices.
It is a right-handed world built for right-handed people. We left-handers just have to figure out how to live in it. Don’t blame us if we end up doing it better than you right-handers do. We are the only ones in our right minds. Science has demonstrated this fact.
I’m more ambidextrous than most people are. The blame for this can probably be pinned down to an accident in my Dad’s shop next to the gas station he inherited from his father. Because clean, damp rags are essential for cleaning windshields, and cleaning windshields was part of being a full-service filling station, the shop had a constantly running washing machine with an attached wringer right up front near the doors in the shop. The attendants would throw soiled rags into the washer and then wring one out fresh before servicing the next vehicle that showed up.
I had discovered that the wringer was an amazing machine for flattening and precisely creasing candy wrappers and other paper that I put in it. I knew I shouldn’t be playing around in the garage like that, but I couldn’t resist the fascination of the constantly-moving rollers and the way they sucked up everything fed into them. Couldn’t even resist as the rollers sucked up the fingers of my left hand and tried to wring out my arm in the process. Luckily or unluckily the thumb on my left hand caught against the guard on the wringer and kept the wringer from going farther up than the palm of my hand.
Because I knew I shouldn’t have been playing with the machine (and not wanting to sound hysterical) I calmly said “can someone help me?” none of the guys noticed me, so I said a little louder “can someone please come help me get out of this?” when they looked up and noticed me attached to the washing machine, I was suddenly the center of attention. “Why didn’t you yell?” they asked me several times. “You could have been seriously injured!”
…and I could have. The wringer, like all mechanical devices, was set up at a particular angle specifically to reduce strain and injury for right-handed people. Left-handers were more vulnerable almost by design, making the ability to leverage yourself out of the machine a near-impossibility if your dominant arm is trapped and the closest one to the wringing device.
I got lucky. I had to use my right hand for about six weeks, and the muscle that attaches my thumb to the palm of my hand still pains me periodically. I learned to write right-handed because of this accident, and because I could do that kind of work right-handed I was more inclined to take up right-handed mousing when I started using the computer. But no matter which hand I’m using at the moment, my handwriting still sucks ass. That is the dysgraphia, not the injury or my sinister nature.
Being ambidextrous makes me more prone to accident, from my perspective. I’m more tentative about how to approach any kind of manual work. Would this hand or that hand be better? I thoughtlessly grab with both hands and miss most of the time. It should be no wonder that power tools rank as one of the most frequent subjects of my nightmares.
So Southpaws unite! Time for a Sinister convention. Today is our day. That it happens to be my favorite day of my favorite month is just a happy coincidence.
A hat/tip is owed to Unbelievable Facts.