'I did it my way' – OR 'It's a right-handed world'


I’ve often wondered – being left handed myself – why the majority of people should be right handed; after all, we all have two hands – why should 90% of people use their right rather than their left? Should be 50/50 surely?
I went to school in the sixties so, luckily, I just missed being part of a generation that was made to feel inferior – or worse! if they were left handed. My only experience of being made to do anything right handed at school was when we learnt to knit. Obviously, my mother could knit but it was my primary school teacher, Miss Harris, who said she would have to show me ‘her way’ as apparently I was managing to add another stitch onto every row doing it ‘my way’ – that cravat I was knitting had a distinctly uneven look to it – teddy would not be pleased!!
Lots of everyday implements seemed to contrive to make life difficult  – scissors, craft knives, pencil sharpeners, can openers, but ask any left hander and they’ll say ‘especially scissors’ – and you don’t realise why (and neither do the adults around you) until much later in life – you just think you’re a bit useless (‘cack-handed’ was an expression that cropped up regularly – I’ve just looked it up in a Spanish-English dictionary and it translates as slow, clumsy, uncoordinated etc etc).
Growing up I’d say scissors and can openers caused me the most grief, later followed by corkscrews – do you know how frustrating it is to have a nice bottle of wine sitting there – and not be able to open it?  When a left hander tries to use a conventional corkscrew it travels up not down! Thank God for screw tops!
These days there is a proliferation of retailers and online sites offering anything a left hander could need – and sites that  claim their products are ‘ambidexterous’ – suitable for everyone but this is SO  not true!! I suspect a lot of them are designed by right handers.
When I got married to a Spaniard I discovered there was still a lot of real prejudice against lefties in Spain. My in-laws, the same as a lot of older people in the U.K., thought  we were the devil’s spawn – I didn’t really have a leg to stand on as far as my father-in-law was concerned – English, non-Catholic and oh! no! LEFT HANDED as well!!  He used to go beserk if he ever caught me trying to teach my children to write or draw with my pen in my left hand (where else would it be!) In fact, one of his own children – if left to her own devices, would be left-handed, but that was unthinkable so she was forced to write right-handed – and the consequence? she hates writing or reading or anything to do with studying at all! It’s interesting that the Spanish for left is ‘siniestro’  (Latin ‘sinistra’)  – which also means ‘sinister’, ‘evil’ and the Spanish for right is ‘diestro’ – which also means ‘skilful’ or ‘expert’!!
What started me on this rant? Well, this morning I was mopping the kitchen floor and to squeeze the excess water out I pressed the mop head into the bucket and turned it  – but it is SCREWED onto the handle and yes – you’ve guessed it – anything  with a thread is  also designed the wrong way for me! The mop head unscrewed and fell off! You see, it’s these little things that bug you!
There are comical sides to being a leftie. Years ago when I was learning to ride a horse (animals which by the way will have a left or right sided bias according to how they were lying in the womb), our instructor set up some jumps for us. Obviously, a jumping course, as with any other circuit,  could  be clockwise or anticlockwise – and my natural instinct would be to go anticlockwise – i.e. turn and jump the first jump on the left so off i went  but that wasn’t the way I was supposed to go that day!  – I didn’t really enjoy jumping –  riding, yes – but jumping? Not keen!  Anyway, the instructor looked on aghast as I proceeded to jump everything ‘backwards’ as she saw it and when I eventually hit the deck – inevitable, really – she loomed over me and screeched ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE  you just did that!! There is normally a pole on the ground just in front of the horse to help him judge the distance, you see, and if you jump from the other side – well, he can’t see it! It wasn’t funny at the time but everyone I told the story to later thought it was!

And those people who say – ‘Why don’t you just do it right-handed?’ …………. are really …..  quite annoying!

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