Lovin’ for a lefty

by Kelly Hillock

“Whoa. You’re left-handed?”

The disembodied voice that has asked me that very question during the last 15 years has taken shape in every form: the close friend, realizing for the very first time which hand I sign receipts with; the lab partner, as I copy down our analysis to turn in; and the kid I jam my elbow into while scribbling notes in class.

Yes, I’m a lefty.

If your next question is, “Wow, how do you write like that?” with your overt curiosity and big eyes, then I will resort to using the evil powers the devil bestowed on me when he decided to make me devil-handed.

Left-handed people have suffered discrimination for millions of years. Throughout history, lefties have been associated with the devil, witchcraft, unintelligence and homosexuality. Lefties have been outcast, prosecuted and in more recent years, been forced to write with their right hand at a young age. Today, the biggest obstacles facing lefties are the inconveniences of everyday tasks and annoying questions, in addition to the products of living in a world designed for right-handed people.

There’s a different kind of dismay for lefties to experience as college students, such as walking into a lecture hall and being forced to take a seat with a little desk on your right side, spending the entire lecture twisting yourself into a human pretzel as you try to write with your left. The same applies when bringing a laptop to class. Something about the right alignment is disconcerting for my right-lateral brain.

We may be a minority, but all the important people are left-handed: Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland, Albert Einstein, Sarah Jessica Parker, Benjamin Franklin and Oprah Winfrey. I mean, whatever Oprah does is right, so I’m obviously on the right team. Some sources even list Joan of Arc as a lefty, which I guess explains the burning at the stake thing.

Being a lefty in a right-handed world is a lot like being a woman in a man’s world, with the exception of a catchy song. However, there are some perks. We get our first choice of seats at the dinner table; otherwise, our right-handed friends would have an elbow digging into their food. People think we’re interesting, or perhaps it’s just a bizarre fascination. It’s a small miracle, when we manage to snag a left aisle, a left-handed desk in class. Studies suggest lefties have higher IQs than right-handed people and have a greater chance of being a genius. Similarly, studies show lefties are more artistic. We even have our own holiday.

So here’s to the cramped muscles, the jamming elbows, the hand smudges, the desk-and-chair combo fiasco and the constant misunderstanding resulting from living in a right-biased world. Here’s to the lefties, the masters of contortion, the backward-achieving champions, the gauche. For the rest of you, we ask you to leave the lefty desks open in class and stop asking us if we’re left-handed. We’re not faking the bad penmanship for your amusement, and between you and me, those devil powers are real.