Anyway, I have come to find out August 13 is also special because it's Left Handers' Day. Yes, there's a day to celebrate left-handedness. Who knew? And, not only is there a whole day dedicated to all things lefty, there's a website, too: Left-Handers' Day 2008. I kid you not. Whether you are a lefty or a righty or an ambidextry, you have got to check it out. It is a veritable cornucopia of fascinating information and fun stuff and quizzes and surveys, and help for left-handers.
But wait, there's more. On that website is a page all about the Left-Handers Club, formed in 1990. Their goal?
"The Left-Handers Club was formed in 1990 aiming to keep members in touch with developments, make their views known to manufacturers and others, provide a help & advice line, to promote research into left-handedness and development of new left-handed items."
Now, in honor of all you southpaws out there, I dedicate this post to all things lefty:
Origin of the nickname "southpaw"
It came about in the late 1890's, when most baseball fields were laid out so that the pitcher faced west and the batter faced east. Well, when a left-handed pitcher threw a pitch, it was with his arm that was toward the south - hence left-handed folks came to be referred to as "southpaws."
- Most left-handed people draw figures facing to the right.
- Left-handers adjust more readily to seeing underwater.
- Four of the five original designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed. (Hey! So that's why the little red x's to close a window are on the left on Macs...)
- Four of the last six presidents have been left-handed.
- In the 1992 US Presidential election, all three major candidates were left handed.
A Few Famous Lefties
- Alexander the Great
- Julius Caesar
- Henry Ford - auto manufacturer
- Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin - astronaut
- Helen Keller
- David Letterman
- Robert Plant
- Sid Caesar - comedian
- Kermit the Frog
Folklore and Superstitions
- Throwing salt over one's left shoulder wards off evil spirits.
- An itchy right palm means money is on it's way to you, but if your left hand itches it means you'll be giving your money away.
- When dressmaking, it is believed to be bad luck to sew the left sleeve on to a garment before the right sleeve is sewn on.
- The ancient Zuni considered left-handedness to be a sign of good luck.
- Anyone who digs coal out of the ground from under his/her left foot in the spring will have very good luck.
Did You Know?
- Officials in MENSA (a high IQ society) believe as many as 20% of their members are lefties.
- The first recorded Siamese twins, born in 1811 and joined at the waist, were named Chang and Eng - which meant "Left" and "Right."
- Studies show that left-handers are more likely to have allergies than their right-handed counterparts.
- Using a standard "qwerty" keyboard and typing with both hands as is traditionally done, about 3400 English words are typed with only the left hand, while only about 450 are typed only with the right. Go ahead - try these out: watercress, aftereffects, reverberated...
A Righty-Biased World?
- The intended meaning of "ambidexterity" is "skillful on both sides." But, since it contains the Latin root "dexter," which means "right," it ends up technically meaning "right-handed at both sides."
- "Cultural pressures" for using the right hand were prevalent in industrial societies in the 18th and 19th centuries and even well into the 20th century.
- Scissors. 'Nuff said.
Left-handers have right brain dominance. Soooo:
- They're more likely than righties to be creative and visual thinkers.
- They're generally better at three-dimensional perception and thinking.
- They're usually pretty good at most ball sports and things involving hand-eye coordination.
Happy Left-Handers' Day to all the left-handers out there! May your scissors always cut crisply, may your right hand always itch, and may you never be blinded by flying salt.