So there I was, in a grocery store in Las Vegas many years ago, with a toddler in the cart, digging for the checkbook so I could pay for my groceries. As I whipped out a pen and started to write, the grocery clerk took note of what hand held the pen (why, I suppose I’ll never know), and asked, “Do you find it a handicap to be left-handed?”
I gawked at her in shock. Nobody, including the nun in my Catholic grade school who tried to change me into a rightie (using a metal-edged ruler over my knuckles, I might add), had ever asked if I thought of myself as handicapped due to my hand preference. It took me aback. In the nun’s case, she just decided all on her own to change me. No asking was involved.
I suppose I mumbled something to the grocery clerk in response as I ripped the check free and slapped it down on the counter. In those younger days I was plenty shy and never said much. Of course, I came up with several solid zingers, once I loaded my bags and the kid into the car and headed for home:
“Why, no. Do you find it a handicap to be stupid?”
“Not at all. Actually, I can punch out your lights with either hand.”
“Nope. In fact, you should see how I shoot as a leftie.”
Did I think of anything fast enough? No, no, no, dang it all.
It’s a right-handed world, or so everyone tells me. But twenty-five years ago somebody—left-handed, to be sure—decided there should be “National Left-Hander’s Day,” and so there is. And it’s today, in fact. I have to grin because I have a day solely dedicated to being a leftie. Pretty cool.
But every day is Left-Hander’s Day to a leftie. And yes, most lefties run across challenges in their daily lives. Vegetable peelers are often slanted the wrong way. Regular scissors don’t conform properly. Spiral notebooks open the wrong way, resulting in the danged spiral constantly in the way of the side of our hands. Knife blades are wonky. Many lefties slant their paper in an awkward direction when they write. And so on. But lefties are an industrious lot, and we can get around any obstacle.
Heck, I can even button my blouses without developing finger-cramps, and I use rightie scissors. Always have. As for those blasted spiral notebooks, I simply flip the thing over so the spiral is on the right side. Sure, I’m now writing right side up in an upside down book, but nobody will ever know unless I tell them. ::shhhhh::
As a leftie, my right hand is just about useless. I can iron clothes with it, but that’s pretty much it. Everything I do, from the most menial to the most complex, leads with my left hand. I probably list to the left when I walk, and nobody’s been frank enough to tell me. One of these days I’ll tip over, and then they’ll come up to me and say, “Oh, forgot to mention, you list to the left.”
I come from an entire family of lefties. My paternal grandfather. My father. Both my brothers. One of my nieces. I kept hoping my daughter would take up the leftie banner, but she grabbed that crayon in her two-year-old right fist, and I didn’t have the heart (nor a ruler nearby) to attempt adjusting her. So I wisely let it be.
I have hopes for my four-year-old granddaughter. Then again, in a recent photo I got of my mini-Sweetie-Heart, I saw a paintbrush in the wrong hand . . . Might have to get out that virtual ruler. Obviously the Leftie Dynasty in my bloodline has come to a screeching halt. I try not to dwell on it.
Being a leftie makes you more independent, did you know that? Without a single leftie female in my general family vicinity while I was growing up, I had to teach myself to crochet, embroider, knit. I stirred cookie dough in the wrong direction, according to my mother. Of course, she couldn’t do a thing for me except grind her teeth each time I folded egg whites into cake batter counter-clockwise. I took golf lessons from a rightie golf pro, and after six lessons he declared me hopeless. Again, I don’t dwell on it.
Honestly, I don’t.
I’ve heard lefties are more creative, better able to solve problems, more amenable to the world around us and its complexities. Well, sure. We see that dumb veggie peeler and our hackles rise. Those of us militant enough to refuse running to the nearest store in search of a left-handed peeler must immediately apply ourselves to re-adjustment. But once we learn to use something—anything—originally slated for a right-handed existence, we’re fine.
I even got used to the metric system because my glass measuring cup has the ounces listed on the other side. But do I complain? Nope.
Okay, maybe a little, but it matters not. Because with re-adjustment comes megalomania.
My veggie peeler knows who’s boss in the family too, better believe it. The first time Mr. Don had to use it, he couldn’t understand why the peel wasn’t coming off the cucumber. Then he realized my left-handedness had affected its cutting surface forever.
Such power I have, Bwa Ha Ha HAAAAA . . .
It’s National Left-Hander’s Day, and today I am Queen. Since that calls for a celebration, I’m going to break out the right-handed glass measuring cup, grab the flour and sugar, and make myself a celebratory cake.