Proud Southpaw

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.

lefthandersday.com (Yes! They put him in his infamous brown suit)

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.

Relatability

Carl Sagan always used to say that when he was trying to explain something to someone, he would go back to that time when he didn’t understand it, and then he would retrace his thought steps so that he could make it absolutely clear, and that’s one of the infinite number of things I learned from him.

Ann Druyan

hat/tip to SGU #787. I found an alternative version of the quote here.

COVID America

COVID-19 didn’t lay America low; it simply revealed what had long been forsaken. As the crisis unfolded, with another American dying every minute of every day, a country that once turned out fighter planes by the hour could not manage to produce the paper masks or cotton swabs essential for tracking the disease. The nation that defeated smallpox and polio, and led the world for generations in medical innovation and discovery, was reduced to a laughing stock as a buffoon of a president advocated the use of household disinfectants as a treatment for a disease that intellectually he could not begin to understand.

Wade Davis – rollingstone.com

h/t to my brother for his find of this article.

Imposter Syndrome

Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things.  And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name*. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

Neil Gaiman

hat/tip to Eric Buck

Sacred Life

No, if we truly value LIFE, if we truly believe it to be SACRED, then before it even begins we as a people and as a nation must bend every effort to ensure not only its survival, but that it thrives to reach its full potential.

Twitter – Stonekettle

Editor’s note – I planned to add this quote to the end of Roe-v-Wade Was a Conservative Decision If I hadn’t broken the blog (05/16/2020) Now that it’s back up, I think I will add it to something even better than that post.

How Corporations Got Rights

 …the first Supreme Court case on the rights of business corporations was decided in 1809. To put that in some perspective, the first Supreme Court cases on the rights of African Americans and the rights of women weren’t decided until 1857 and 1873, respectively. So a half-century earlier, corporations were in the Supreme Court seeking the protections of the Constitution.

Bank of the United States v. Deveaux, it really set the foundation for 200 years of Supreme Court cases expanding rights to corporations. The case involved the Bank of the United States, the most powerful corporation in America at the time, and it claimed the constitutional right to sue in federal court, even though the Constitution’s text only provides that right to citizens.

Adam Winkler

In the segment of this episode of On The Media embedded below. Posted on Tumblr two years ago and shared to Facebook.

On the Media – How Corporations Got Rights – April 13, 2018

Proning

At Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, Dr. Nicholas Caputo followed 50 patients who arrived with low oxygen levels between 69 and 85 percent (95 is normal). After five minutes of proning, they had improved to a mean of 94 percent. Over the next 24 hours, nearly three-quarters were able to avoid intubation; 13 needed ventilators. Proning does not seem to work as well in older patients, a number of doctors said.

NYTimes – What Doctors on the Front Lines Wish They’d Known a Month Ago
Twitter – DrArnsten

Abuse of Power

What should outrage us is not what appears or is suspected to be Burr’s insider trading, but that any representative of the US government, and in this case a particularly high-ranking one, is permitted to own stock. It is as if there is no relationship between government decisions and market developments. The fact that this is possible, that a powerful senator like Burr can be deep inside of the government and yet play the market, exposes the exceptionally high levels of corruption permitted in our political system.

thestranger.com

Fascism in America

The only constitutional freedoms ultimately recognized may soon be limited to those useful to wealthy, Republican, White, straight, Christian, and armed males— and the corporations they control. This is wrong. Period. This is not America.

James Dannenberg

Like Mussolini, Trump can’t even make the trains run on time. He certainly can’t protect us from a virus.

Hat/tip to:

Facebook – Heather Cox Richardson