Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not Left Behind

"How do you do anything with your left hand? I don't understand!," my Dad would tease me growing up. Other than writing with ball-point pens (which would invariably get smeared as my crab-like hand moved across the page...), it wasn't all that difficult. One problem I did have, however, was instinctively being able to tell my left from my right. If my Mom told me to fetch something for her from say the upper right dresser drawer, I'd have to stop and think which hand I wrote with and then make a mental note. Sometimes, after figuring out which hand was the right one I'd put it on my head so I wouldn't forget when I got to my destination. Turns out, that not being able to quickly discern right from left is a fairly common quirk. And even more common with lefties.

Something else that is proportionally more common with lefties is how often they run for President. Both John McCain and Barack Obama are southpaws--so which ever man wins, we'll have a lefty in the White House! According to the article in the Washington Post:

No matter who wins in November, six of the 12 chief executives since the end of World War II will have been left-handed: Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, the elder Bush, Clinton and either Obama or McCain. That's a disproportionate number, considering that only one in 10 people in the general population is left-handed.
Other famous left-handers include:

Ben Franklin (with whom I share a birthday in addition to hand preference!)
Joan of Arc
Julius Caesar
Alexander the Great
Helen Keller
Buzz Aldrin
Dave Barry
Edward R. Murrow
JFK Jr. AND his sister Caroline!
Jay Leno and David Letterman
Lenny Bruce
Clarence Darrow
Jack the Ripper and the Boston Strangler
Lewis Carroll
Mark Twain
David Byrne
Kurt Cobain
Jimi Hendrix
Paul McCartney
Robert DeNiro
Whoopi Goldberg
Oprah Winfrey
Mark Spitz, Bruce Jenner and Dorothy Hamill
Kermit the Frog and Bart Simpson
as well as Me and my blogging buddy, Elisabeth!

Happy Left-Handers Day! If you're not a southpaw, don't feel "left" out--some of my best friends write with the wrong hand!


  1. I'm not a lefty but I have the same problem to this day. I actually have to put my hands out in front of me, index finger and thumb extended, to see which one forms a left in order to figure it out at times. It's embarassing... and somewhat annoying when I'm driving.

  2. Woohoo! Yay for lefties!

  3. Rae,

    An "L"? That's brilliant! Damn, that would have been so much easier than walking around with one hand on my head...

  4. Wow,what a great list. Kermie, who knew?! And is there an opposite of southpaw for us righties, like northpaw?

  5. Esther,

    That's just an abbreviated list. I've linked to a much more extensive one. I think perhaps the reason Kermie is left-handed (Yay, Froggy Baby!) is that his creator Jim Henson also was a southpaw.

    And speaking of southpaws: you right handed people can try calling yourself northpaws, but sadly it won't make you as cool as us lefties! (Heehee--just kidding!)