Left-on’ – power to the southpaws!

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I’ve always known that I was a bit different (insert your own punch line 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 (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.

Going on definitions alone, it’s apparently not a good thing to be left-handed. The English word, left, comes from the Anglo-Saxon word, lyft, meaning weak, worthless or broken. The Latin meaning of left is sinister while the French interpretation of left, or as they call it, gauche, is crude or lacking grace.

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.

Many believe that lefties are clumsy or accident-prone. If we are, then it’s the fault of having to learn to deal with life’s simple pleasures, all of which favor right-handed people.

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

Do you know the name of the only astronaut to fly in all three space programs – Mercury, Gemini and Apollo? Wally Schiarra, who, by the way, is left-handed.

Speaking of famous southpaws, 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 – Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan (born as a lefty, but was forced to switch to the other side), Harry Truman, Herbert Hoover, and James Garfield.

Other than Jimi Hendrix, famous southpaw musicians include Greg Allman, David Bowie, Glen Campbell, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, Bob Dylan, Glenn Frey, Crystal Gayle, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Joe Perry, Lou Rawls, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, and Sting.

Exercise guru Richard Simmons is left-handed, as were two of the most-watched late-night TV hosts (now retired) – David Letterman and Jay Leno.

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 is 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 noggins more evenly.


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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