The Lamentable Left Handed Life


Are you right-handed? Are you left-handed? Either way, the hand you write, throw, or are dominant with was determined in the womb. Though environmental factors do affect one’s handedness, current studies show that forty different genes ultimately determine your dominant hand, and with that, what side of the brain you use more. Surprisingly, the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. This criss-cross relationship between the brain and body accounts for the stereotypes of right-handers using their logical and scientific side of their brain more, while left-handers favor using their creative and artsy side. Statistically, eighty-five to ninety percent of people are right-handed; however, the unfortunate five to ten percent of people who are left-handed have to approach the world differently. The simplest things like writing are exponentially more difficult for left-handers than right-handers. Not to mention, most devices, materials, and supplies are specifically designed for right-handed people. Derogatory comments are often expressed to lefties, making them feel less than their right-handed peers.

The easiest example of a left-hand struggle is writing. Lefties and righties both learn to write in preschool and face similar hardships when it comes to picking up the pencil. The problem is when the utensil is not a pencil but a marker, pen, sharpie, or anything that leaves remnants. Writing left to right with your left hand will cause the side of your palm to press against what you have already written. This causes your words to smear and smudge across the page, and it gets the side of your hand covered in the smeared words you put so much thought into. This tattooed wrist is even more prevalent on chalk and dry erase boards because the marker and chalk smear more than pencil. And don’t try to write on the smartboard, it will not be able to decipher whether your wrist or the marker is truly writing. No matter what surface a leftie writes on, their hand covers up what they have just written. This makes it harder for peers to read and copy what you marked down. Desks with an attached chair often prevent precise writing when left-handed. Your left hand constantly bumps into the metal connector piece that connects the desk to the seat.

The struggle doesn’t stop here; eating can often be a battle for a left-hander. When eating with a group of people, your left hand often bumps into them since they are using their right hand. This designates a leftie to sit at the end of the table and feel secluded from the conversation. Gaming devices can create some challenges for a leftie as well. For instance, when the Wii came out, a left-handed person had to learn the controls backwards. The Wii failed to make left-handed controllers, causing lefties to either shy away from the console or take the time to master reverse controls. This common trend of companies making only right-handed supplies accounts for lefties feeling neglected. Scissors are mass-produced for righties, so lefties must overcompensate just to cut paper.

Being left-handed brings more than minuscule physical misfortunes for it can often increase one’s chance of mental illness. “For instance, left-handers are about 5 percent more likely to have reported having ever experienced symptoms of depression,” according to economics professor Kevin Denny, and even worse, associate professor of human development and psychology at Cornell University, Daniel Casasanto, explains how a “common treatment used in cases of major depression may not only be ineffective, it could actually be detrimental to anyone who is not predominantly right-handed.” This depression can bring along severe cases of anxiety as well. Lefties are more likely to get depression, yet treatments are ineffective, which is the world’s way of kicking down the fallen.

In general, lefties get the short end of the stick when it comes to life. The world is made for righties, but do not be fooled; lefties can handle themselves. Plenty of famous public figures are left-handed and bring joy to this world including Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Jimmy Hendrix. Do not forget the geniuses that shaped the world with their left hands: Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Sir Issac Newton. These famous figures did not let the right-handed culture stop them from doing amazing things and neither should it for you. When it comes down to it, a leftie can do anything a rightie can despite their many challenges they come across in a world that does not tend to their needs. Lefties must continue to pursue difficulties passionately to honor the lefties that changed the world, so that one day, they change the world themselves.