A southpaw’s perspective
May 11, 2017
When I mention that I am left-handed in conversation, some people only think of the disadvantages of being a lefty. I generally get a negative response. However, like many other lefties, I am proud of being left-handed. Of course, I do suffer from the typical southpaw problems, but I like to think of these ‘problems’ in more positive terms. When I get ink on the side of my hand after doing my work, I feel that I have done the best I can, and I have a souvenir to prove it. I get to buy scissors and rulers made for lefties specifically, and they are mine and mine alone. With lefties only making up 10% of the US population (CNN), I am in the minority.
While I do not play softball or baseball, left-handed baseball players have an advantage. According to anythinglefthanded.co.uk, lefty players “have the advantage of already facing first base when they’re at bat, can more easily keep an eye on first base when pitching, and can cover a large amount of the field when playing in the outfield.” Babe Ruth, a well-known Yankees player, is one of the most famous left-handed players. Fencers, boxers, and tennis players all have an advantage if they are lefties. According to CNN, lefties have an advantage in combat because of their “unexpected left hook.”
While I do not participate in any of these sports, I benefit from other advantages of being a lefty. Lefties are more likely to be smarter, as they can more readily utilize both sides of their brains. However, their brains are not “reversed,” as some might think. With this advantage comes being able to multitask. Personally, I feel that I am more capable of multitasking than some of my peers. I am able to write and do homework while I listen to music or watch TV.
One of my favorite parts of being a lefty is being able to buy specialty items for my schoolwork. Many lefties prefer rulers, scissors, and legal pads of paper that are oriented to lefties. Regular rulers are reversed for lefties, and so are the sizing of the finger-holes on scissors. It is fun for me to be able to go shopping for specific items. If one simply searches for “lefty shops,” at least 10 different sites pop up with anything one could need. Lefties have a small online niche.
Even though lefties make up a small part of the population, there are still celebrities and public figures that we can claim as our own. Lefty presidents include James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Other famous lefties include Steve Jobs, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Prince William.
The negative undertone that accompanies being a lefty in the modern world is present in parts of Judaism as well. Maimonides called being a lefty a “blemish” and said that it would keep Jews from serving in the Temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish idea of yetzer hara (evil urges) is thought to come from the left side. A mezuzah is on the right side of doorways, the kiddush cup is held in the right hand, and Torah scrolls are held on the right side of the body. However, in the Jewish Book of Judges, (3:15) a major victory was enabled because of a lefty. A judge, Ehud, was left-handed. This is mentioned in the Torah because it is what enabled him to assassinate King Eglon of the Moabites. The guards assumed that he was right-handed and did not check for a left-handed sword. The Jewish tribe of Benjamin had highly skilled left-handed warriors, an asset they used in battle. The warriors “were drilled as left-handed warriors to attack the enemy unawares.” So, it is safe to say that left-handed people saved the Jews.
While I may struggle sometimes with being a lefty, it is not as bad as people may think, and I am proud to have a niche of other people that think like a southpaw.