I remember one afternoon in kindergarten when my teacher tested each student to determine whether we were right- or left-handed. I wanted badly to test right-handed because I thought it sounded cooler, but the results told me what I probably should have already figured out in penmanship class: I was a terminal lefty.
This may not sound like a death sentence to most, but for the longest time I thought a diagnosis of left-handedness was exactly that, a death sentence. I had always heard lefties die some 10 years earlier than righties. Now my research (Google) indicates that the jury is still out.
Studies have come and gone with various life expectancy projections and alleged factors of lifespan difference between the two groups. This confusion has left me in the dark, no pun intended.
I can see how either situation could be the case. Certain nimble manual operations elude me and have arguably detracted from my quality of life. It took me a long time to learn how to tie my shoes, for one thing. I think I was in the first grade when I learned, and I specifically remember being the last kid in class to master the skill. The extra months with Styrofoam straps on my feet probably made people think I was a glue-eater, but I did not choose to wear them. I still don’t like shoelaces and typically defer to boots and slip-on shoes.
Neckties are also contentious. My handwriting is abysmal.
Of course, these problems may have nothing to do with left-handedness, and according to Indiana University’s website, my co-lefties include Presidents Obama, Clinton, Bush Sr. and Reagan. I bet they have all been frustrated by endless right-handed shakes imposed on them by the insensitive majority of the world.
Jon McEwen, an old friend of mine from high school, suggested via Facebook that I should try brushing my teeth with my non-dominant hand for a couple of minutes. He said it would increase problem-solving skills and analytical thinking. I tried the experiment and then applied my newfound brain power to solve the problem of toothpaste all over my face, neck, chest and bathroom sink. I would advise all intrepid readers to try the experiment at bedtime and not in the morning.
And look upward.