‘Left-on’ – power to the southpaws!

Published 9:28 am Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I’ve always known that I was a bit different (insert you own punchline here).

But seriously, scissors just didn’t feel right in my hand; ditto for a carrot peeler and a power saw. School desks were also an obstacle – forcing me to reach cross-handed in order to perform writing skills. I must admit my writing was sloppy, mostly due to my left pinky smearing the ink as my hand traveled across the page. Traditional three-ring binders and spiral notebooks also provided a huge headache for me in school.

Yes, I’m left-handed. No, that doesn’t mean, according to some wise, old (and undoubtedly right-handed) sage that “I owe the Devil a day’s work.”

Left-handers face discrimination each and every day of their lives – not in the sense of being denied equal rights (ala, housing, a seat on the bus, etc.), but rather just by living in a right-hander’s world.

However, being a southpaw has its advantages, the most notable of which is our ability to overcome any and all inconveniences and/or obstacles placed before us.

Legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix taught himself how to play by turning a right-handed guitar upside down. Now that’s a perfect example of how lefties can overcome what would normally be considered as a barricade.

Lefties coming from right-handed parents are indeed special (as was I). Studies have shown that if both parents are right-handed, the chance of having a left-handed child is a mere two percent. That figure rises to 17 percent if one parent is a lefty. If both parents are southpaws, the chance of their offspring being the same is an even 50 percent.

Did you know that the firstborn children of mothers over the age of 30 are more likely to be left-handed than kids born to younger moms?

It’s said to be good luck to view the moon over your left shoulder.

The history of our world was shaped by such lefties as Napoleon, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great.

Some of the world’s most famous “thinkers” were left-handed – Aristotle, Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton.

The list of southpaw Presidents is lengthy – George Bush, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan (born as a lefty, but was forced to switch to the other side), John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, Herbert Hoover, James Garfield and Thomas Jefferson.

Famous southpaw musicians include Greg Allman, David Bowie, Glen Campbell, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, Bob Dylan, Glenn Frey (of Eagles fame), Crystal Gayle, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant (Led Zepplin), Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Lou Rawls, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Sting and the late Tiny Tim.

Two of the most-watched TV hosts – David Letterman and Jay Leno – are left-handed.

Even the beloved Kermit the Frog is left-handed, as was his creator, the late Jim Henson.

Left-handed comedians include Drew Carey, Tim Allen, Howie Mandel, Harpo Marx, Don Rickles and Dick Smothers.

I’ll leave you with arguably the finest piece of evidence that left-handers are the best. Through the years, the world’s leading scientists developed the “mirror effect” theory, one that stated a right-handed person thinks with the left side of their brain while the opposite was true for a lefty. However, more recent scientific studies have revealed that while the actions of righties are indeed guided by the left hemisphere of their brain, lefties use both sides of their brains more evenly.


Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.