We should consider the struggles of a left-hander

17:00, Aug 14 2014

It's tough being a "lefty" in a right-handed world.

Simple tasks tackled with enviable dexterity by right-handed counterparts can become near insurmountable challenges for the southpaw community.

Case in point: the can opener.

Luckily, the clever folk at the place where they come up with international awareness days for just about anything have a cause everyone should get behind.

International Left-Handers' day.

Celebrated on August 13 each year, it is the one day a year where the 10 per cent of humanity who favour their left-hand side get the recognition they rightly (or should that read leftly) deserve.


Lefties have copped their share of flak over the years. Many people will have stories of family members in older generations being slapped over the wrist for being "cack-handed".

Even the word "sinister" is derived from left or left-handedness. This clearly means lefties are a force not to be messed with.

Writing can be a challenge: ballpoint pens are more likely to malfunction in the clutches of a left hand as they are designed to be dragged across a page rather than pushed. Ringbinders are the nemesis of nearly all left-handed students: it's impossible to write neatly near the margin when a giant metal ring is obstructing your flow.

Whiteboards and blackboards are the stuff of nightmares, and don't even get started on scissors.

While undoubtedly many challenges come with being a lefty, there are also many benefits. While the science is sketchy lefties are often considered to be more creative, better at math and superior multi-taskers. This is because, theoretically, left-handed people are more effective at using both hemispheres of the brain.

However, not one researcher contacted by the Southland Times yesterday felt they could comment with any authority on the science behind left-handedness. Yet another proof of the left-handed community's marginalisation.

So next time a righty witnesses a lefty haphazardly scrawling a handwritten note, instead of exclaiming "how do you even write like that", take a moment to appreciate the struggles they have overcome to get there.

And lefties, wear that ink-smudged hand with pride. It shows you belong to a unique part of society. The struggle is real.

Taranaki Daily News