I’m Sinistral. Not clumsy. Or incapable.

Leave me alone.  I want to write with this hand, thank you very much.

Leave me alone. I want to write with this hand, thank you very much.

Somebody asked me to take a screwdriver and unscrew a screw from the wall.  It has to be said that as much aspiration and commitment I have to improve my writing skills, the exact opposite would be true for my handyman skills.

But I did.  I’m the man.  I got on the ladder.  Then got off again for I left the screw driver in the toolbox.  I got back up the ladder with the screw driver.   I commenced with the task I was assigned to: Unscrewing.

Half way through the activity, he asked if I needed help.

Still with my back towards him, barely keeping my balance on the step ladder, (don’t laugh, at 6″4′ my centre of gravity is very low) I asked him why on earth would one man need assistance from another man in the task of unscrewing.  Or screwing for that matter.

He replied flatly that it looked like I needed help.

I stopped.  Held on to the ladder, and as manly as I could, turned around and stared at him with a facial expression that turned into three letters: W, T and F.

Instead of being intimidated by my alphabet face he continued, told me I looked clumsy.

I took a step down and considering that I’ve never hit anyone in my life, I was praying that me stepping down would have the desired effect.  You know, he would wet his pants, apologise profusely, maybe even run away, but more importantly he would shut up.  Needless to say he didn’t do any of the aforementioned things, instead only threw me with his big reveal.

“You’re using the wrong hand.”

It was like a misplaced hammer swing on your thumb.  Painful.  Those times when you involuntarily drop the mother-of-all F-BOMBS and medicate injured thumb by placing it in mouth.  And whimper like a little girl.  Bottom line, this guy hit me in my proverbial gut, when he pointed out my sinistrality.  And no, relax, it’s not some weird sub-cult of Scientology.  It just means that I’m left-handed, and part of an unspoken minority.

Left-handed people constitute 10% of the population. Our life expectancy are nine years less than you right-handed people.  Left-handedness are normally associated with awkwardness or clumsiness.  And if that’s not enough, the word “left” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “lyft” meaning weak.  And the Anglo-Saxons were a group of people who inhabited Great Britain during the 5 century.  And Great Britain is a country…Wait, this is turning into a history lesson.

Point is, we have received the brunt of social prejudice for many years.  And we have feelings.  You know how difficult it is to operate a pair of scissors made for you people!  And a cheque book is an obvious disaster.  How the hell do they expect us to complete the receipt?  Not to mention a chainsaw… There is even an article on Wikipedia about bias towards Left-handed people.  And we have our own wiki-site, albeit a very, very short one.  We even have our own International day on 13 August 2014.  (Well, technically it happens every year.)

There has been a few high achieving southpaws.  Giving us hope and courage to face the world of biased and insensitive right-handed people.  Think of Abraham Lincoln, Rafael Nadal, Kurt Cobain, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, Ringo Star, Aristotle, Barack Obama,  George Bush, Napoleon Bonaparte, Angelina Jolie, Prince William, Julia Roberts, Vincent van Gogh, Robert de Niro, Bill Clinton, Lady Gaga, Tom Cruise, Tina Fey, Leonardo da Vinci, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Bill Gates, Celine Dion, Eminem, Rembrandt, Jim Carrey, Garfield, James Cameron, Nicole Kidman, Stan Lee and the author of Ah Dad…

Surprised?  (I was.) There are more of us who’s trying to take over the world, one left-hand at a time.  And if you want to see a list of other members of the movement, you may here and here.  Besides, you never know when you’ll be on quiz show.  And this knowledge might even win you a million bucks, of which I only require a small 11% commission, should that ever happen.

Even though we’re a small group of the population we will not slip through the craks of prejudice, we will not go gently in the night, today WE WILL DINE IN HELL!  (I’m getting carried away.)

Here’s a few fun facts:

  • Left-handers are more likely to be geniuses (Of which I’m living proof)
  • Left-handed people are three times more likely than right-handed people to become alcoholics. (Of which I’m living proof, if you consider red wine alcohol)
  • Lefties are more likely than righties to really, really hate spiral notebooks. (Of which I’m living proof, I have constant nightmares of using them )
  • Left-handers are believed to reach puberty 4 to 5 months after right-handers. (Of which I’m living proof, for I still don’t grow a full beard)
  • Psychologists from Queen’s University Belfast found that female cats are more likely to be right-pawed and male cats tend to be left-pawed.  (No comment, for that must be the saddest fact I’ve read all month.)

In the end, none of these things matter as long as you remember, lefties are people too.  We might look like imbeciles when using the wrong hand to do arbitrary things or turn our books in awkward angles to stay within the blue lines, but we are people nonetheless.

Which reminds me, where’s my battery operated screw driver…

22 thoughts on “I’m Sinistral. Not clumsy. Or incapable.

  1. You will enjoy this Pieter. I travel with a southpaw & recently, when we were in Morocco, we were invited to share a meal with our driver’s family. When my friend started to eat, she was asked to use her right hand as apparently it is bad manners to eat with the left. Dumbfounded, she just stared at them & said, “I can’t.” They were very gracious in excusing her but I am sure we are still being talked about a the dinner table!


    • Haha. I have heard that they use their righthand for eating etc.. and the left hand for um… lets call it cleaning. I love Western civilization even more and then there is that thing they call toilet paper….


  2. I am the minority in my home, the rest of the people living in my house are left handed. The can opener, the scissors, everything made for right handed people are nowhere to be found in my house. I feel the pain of the south paw, while living my own life in the mainstream. It’s a cryin’ shame. You know, back in the day, left handed children were left out on a mountain top to die… Just sayin’.


  3. My 4yo son is left handed and at the moment he gets good attention for being different. It’s seen as cute!

    I love that word ‘sinistral’ too! Cross between ‘sinister’ and ‘minstrel’


  4. When I was at school, smartass kids used to deliberately yell out in baseball that I was standing on the wrong side of the plate. I hated it. I was a leftie, when I was two, my dad noticed it and tied my left hand to my back and forced me to use my right hand. I am actually quite glad now because majority of surgical instruments and equipment are made for right handed surgeons and no matter how good you are, these instruments make lefties look clumsy. But I am a mean leftie snooker player, or any sport for that matter!


  5. I’m a righty, but have had a few moments of lefty envy. There seems to be something a little elegant about a lefty when signing stuff, but that’s about it, the rest of the time I’m glad that my parents chained to me a chair and forced me to use my right hand.


    • There are a few other skills lefties can do, which is really unique and makes us look like a toned down version of X-men. What are they? Well, it’s part of our secret society and I’m not allowed to tell…

      And that makes you being tied to a chair a less pleasant memory doesn’t it?


  6. Pingback: Happy Left-handers day! | Ah dad...

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