Left out: being lefty in a righty’s world

By Jillian Milam
February 17, 2005

Shawn Rice

What difference does it make whether you are a lefty or a righty? Who cares, all it means is using one hand more than the other. Or so I thought.

As a child, I always enjoyed being a lefty for the mere reason of being a little different. I was always the one on the softball team who batted left-handed, or the one who “wrote funny.” However, being a lefty comes with its disadvantages…lots of them, even for a kid.

Do you remember those sketch-a-doodles? A childhood memory without a sketch-a-doodle is like a peanut butter sandwich without the jelly. Everyone had one. The only problem was, I had such a hard time playing with them. The magic pen attached to the side, the right side I might add, made it nearly impossible to swing the pen around in my left hand and have the string long enough to make all the sketches and doodles that I wanted.

Heart-breaking news for a kid. So instead, I would switch to the good old construction paper and markers. I would be able to draw all I wanted, without limitations. However, after writing something from the left to the right side of the paper, like most of us do, blurred out blobs and an marker-stained left hand was the only result. As a lefty, you have to be conscious about dragging your hand as you write across the page, creating the, “you write funny” comments.

Now onto mention copybooks. The spiral copybooks are one of the biggest disadvantages for lefties. Imagine having a copybook opened up, flat on a desk. Writing across the left page is no problem, but writing on the right side is nearly impossible. Trying to raise your arm high enough to avoid hitting the spiral with the hand you’re writing with is a difficult task, especially when trying to take neat notes at a fast pace. So what about the left-handed spiral copybooks made with the spiral on the opposite side? A super idea, and a very exciting moment for us. But after one day with the copybook, you realize that you have the same exact problem, just with the opposite side of the book.

From grade school until present day, we lefties have had to get used to writing in those small desks that have the seats attached. Did you ever notice how the bar that attaches the desk to the seat is on the right side, creating a convenient place to set your right elbow as you write? Good thinking, for a righty. Lefties have no place to rest their elbows when taking notes for 45 minutes at a time in class. We just have to kind of let them hang loose in the air. Not the most comfortable feeling in the world. Of course there are always the two or three lefty desks in the back of the room if somebody needs one. This definitely does help, but sometimes two or three isn’t enough. For some classes, it can become a race between the two lefties in the room for that special desk. And then causing a scene by having to move the desk closer to the front of the room in order to see the board is never fun.

Righties, have you ever tried picking up a pair of left-handed scissors to cut a piece of paper? Well that’s actually a stupid question. Odds are you have never done that, considering there’s a slim-to-none chance that there is a left-handed pair of scissors lying around anywhere. But if by chance you have, you know what I am talking about. If scissors aren’t made for the hand you cut with, they simply do not work. The paper will actually bend in between the two blades, creating more frustration than one could imagine. What’s even more frustrating for lefties is teaching yourself how to automatically reach for the scissors with your right hand to avoid this annoyance, then to actually be somewhere that has left-handed scissors, so you instinctively try to use them with your right hand because you spent however long teaching yourself to do so!

In this modern age, technology has amazed all of us at some point. Palm Pilots were once the newest astonishment and many people use them today. However, here is one piece of advice that a Palm Pilot maker should take into consideration: designing a palm pilot that has the pen, also known as the stylist, on the left side of the device. Having to pick up the palm, take out the stylist and then switch hands is one step too many.

Okay. So the majority of people in the world are right-handed. Well, what about the lefties? We do exist, we do matter and we do deserve the same simple privileges as everybody else!

Posted to the web by Shawn Rice

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Jillian Milam

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