On Being Left-Handed


On Being Left-Handed

I’ve always loved being left-handed, and I consider myself a lucky southpaw. In the second grade, when we learned how to write cursive, Miss Habighurst, my wonderful teacher at Westchester Consolidated Elementary School, taught me to tilt my paper to the left, thus avoiding the smeared-paper, hand-curled-around-pen posture with which many lefties are burdened. A simple solution. I don’t know why all teachers don’t use it.

I didn’t mind using scissors upside down; I use my knife and fork like a rightie, so I don’t need to transfer my eating utensils before taking a bite. I knit and crochet right-handed because my mother didn’t know how to teach me any other way. My needlepoint slants in the opposite direction, but, so far, no one has noticed and I wouldn’t care if they did.

My grandfather, a semi-pro baseball alum, taught me how to field, using my left-handers mitt. I loved it. He taught me to bat, right-handed, and it wasn’t until much later that I realized that this took away my hitter’s advantage. When I wondered about it to my husband, he answered, “Maybe your grandfather knew you wouldn’t play pro ball.” Ah, he was right.

In college, I learned to sit in the left half of the classroom, and pull over another desk so that I could more easily use my left hand. In my last year I discovered that there were actually one or two left-handed desks in some of the classrooms, though never in any of the ones that I used.

Then I discovered the left-handers’ store. Scissors. A soup ladle. Oh, the delights.

I blame my inability to tell left from right on my left-handedness, but am not too sure of that. So, politics aside, in a world of right, I’m glad to be left.

One response to “On Being Left-Handed

  1. Actually lefties should slant their papers to the right to avoid smudges. I was taught by the “fine” NYC public schools to slant as my papers to the left as were the righties (north paws?) in the class and have lived many years with a smudged left hand that I always inadvertently transferred to my left cheek. Despite this, I too have always felt it a special privilege to be among the left-handed. I believe we become more creative in seeking solutions to the problems presented by living in a right-handed world. I taught myself to knit leftie style and have had to figure out what to transpose in patterns to make them turn out as the designer intended. If I mess up, I simply declare it a “design element.” The only thing I learned to do right-handed was bat. This was my own choice as I found I was more successful that way, albeit minimally. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that was because I had mixed dominance, i.e. my right eye was my dominant eye and I used that to sight along the bat to connect with the ball. I am the proud mom and grandmother of 2 left-handed sons and one left-handed grandson. All of that said, I do treasure my left-handed scissors. Keep writing friend, I love your blog.


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