Lefties, Unite! | Guest column

Lefties, Unite! | Guest column

Submitted by Margot Shaw

Orcas Island

I want to respond to Colleen’s July 29 editorial: “Aug. 13 is International Left-Handers Day” — the 30th anniversary no less. Though being left-handed forever I never realized there was a day just for us! Thanks, Colleen.

We could fill the whole newspaper with interesting stories about left-handedness. Check them out yourself and read Colleen’s editorial again, especially you lefties. You’ll discover things you never knew about yourself, and maybe be a bit proud of the things you did know that you may have suppressed as being at odds with the rest of the world. Now you know. We’re special.

I first realized my left-handed “uniqueness” in the 4th grade where we were being taught cursive writing… with ink pens, the implement of choice then. To avoid smearing the ink, I created an under-hand method of writing. The only problem was that my arm would get close and closer to my body as I wrote, cramping my otherwise neat style.

Other L-Handers, Obama for example adopted the overhand style…lucky the ink dried fast. At least 4 of the last 7 presidents have been left-handed. Go figure.

Now, this is a mystery to me. Current statistics say that 10% of the national population is left-handed. That’s the same stat I learned in the 1950s when I studied to be a special education teacher. Ten percent leftie, 10 percent rightie and the other 80 percent could be either, though they were “encouraged” (knuckle-rapped?) to write with the right. Today, no one forces that on us, so why the same statistic?

Stats don’t change me, as I’ve adjusted to it all my life, being quite ambidextrous (a survival mechanism?) Tennis, softball, writing, skipping rocks: leftie; throwing, strongarm motions, adjusting the binoculars: rightie; changing hands with some tasks when one arm gets tired.

When I was a “Resource” teacher of the blind and partially sighted in California, the late ‘50s, and later, working with perceptually handicapped students in other situations, I learned how complex our relationships are to our handed-ness, eye-ed-ness, eared-ness, footed-ness in terms of our perceptions of ourselves and the world outside.

A fascinating study. I count myself lucky that this training has given me a broader base with which to understand others, myself and my environment… even my talkative cat who constantly explains the state of the world.

Next year, Aug. 13happens to be a Friday. Let’s throw a big party on the green to celebrate our specialness. O.K., you righties, you can come, too. Just bring some goodies.