Lefties Get Their Day

Oh, hear the cheerful cries of the left-handed population. August 13 is officially recognized as International Left-Handers Day, and I find it most important to honor these everyday troopers for making it in a right-handed world. Why, you ask? Well, yours truly is a proud member of the lefty club and would love to shine a light on this very unique group. Classic plights of left-handers like myself can be quite funny and sometimes disappointing — but will resonate with at least 10% of the world, as that is the rough percentage of left-handed people across the globe.

Some may call our everyday encounters minor inconveniences — however, lefties know that being blessed with this dominant handedness is a learning curve that is not for the faint of heart. I dare say, that in “Right-Hand Land,” only the strong survive. (See the drama in that last statement? Lefties are a bit on the creative side, but we’ll get to that soon). Some examples of #lefthandstruggles include — but are not limited to — the following:

  • Fighting a spiral notebook (spirals are on the left, blocking one’s left writing hand) and turning it to the oddest of angles just to create legible notes.

  • Smudging one’s carefully-crafted writings immediately after jotting something down and wearing a black-ink, hand tattoo for the rest of the day.

  • Playing Tetris in one’s head just to figure out how to fit the left hand comfortably into right-handed scissors, only to give up and become right-handed for the longevity of the craft. Thankfully, left-handed scissors are easily accessible now.

  • Being told (before someone ever sees your penmanship) that all left-handers have horrible handwriting.

  • Figuring out how to do work at a right-handed desk — where your left arm is flailing in the air trying to support itself as you work.

  • Learning how to play traditionally right-handed instruments like guitar, violin and drums.

  • And for many individuals in years past, being forced to use one’s right hand due to societal and religious beliefs that the left hand was a bad or demonic hand preference.

Thankfully in modern times we view being left-handed as the unique, genetic rarity that it is. Thanks to the founder of Left-Handers International, Dean R. Campbell, the world is now aware of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed. International Left-Handers Day made its grand entrance into the world in 1976 and has continued to garner support year after year. To celebrate this small but strong group of hand dominance rebels, here are some interesting facts about left-handedness.

  • Women between the age of 30–40 are more likely to have left-handed children that younger women.

  • Studies show that almost 50% of dogs favor their left paws. (Perhaps your furry friend is a lefty.)

  • Famous lefty U.S. presidents include James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Regan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

  • There is a place called Left Hand, West Virginia — but it is not named for its left-handed community.

  • Although lefties are known for creativity and being right-brained, studies show that left-handed people also tend to be more successful at math, abstract thought and spatial reasoning than righties, which could also be attributed to use of the right side of the brain.

  • Juniata College in Huntington, Pennsylvania offers a scholarship for up to $1,500 just for being left-handed.

  • Wedding rings are traditionally worn on the left hand because many believed that the vena amoris or the “vein of love” connected the fourth finger on this hand to the heart.

Books About Famous Lefties

Neil Armstrong : a Life of Flight by Jay Barbree
Oprah: Reflections on an American Legacy by Deborah Davis
The Real Elizabeth by Andrew Marr
Paul McCartney : The Life by Philip Norman
Dreams from my father by Barack Obama
Radioactive : Marie & Pierre Curie by Lauren Redniss

Books (for Kids) About Famous Lefties

I am Neil Armstrong by Brad Meltzer
I am Marie Curie by Brad Meltzer
I am Leonardo da Vinci by Brad Meltzer
I am Albert Einstein by Brad Meltzer
Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie
My Super Science Heroes: Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence
Little Heroes: Inventors Who Changed the World — From the ranging curiosity of Leonardo da Vinci to the dedication and sacrifice of Marie Curie, Little Heroes: Inventors Who Changed the World is a young child
Life Stories: Leonardo da Vinci
Life Stories: Albert Einstein
Who Was Albert Einstein?
The Beatles Were Fab (and they were funny) — Chronicles the legendary band
Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope
Groundbreaking Guys: 40 men who became great by doing good — Our history books are full of great men, from inventors to explorers to presidents. But these great men were not always good men. It
Oprah Winfrey: The Little Speaker
She Presisted: 13 American women who changed the world — Profiles the lives of thirteen American women who have left their mark on U.S. history, including Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Margaret Chase Smith, and Oprah Winfrey

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