Dale Says

February 9, 2009

Equality for Lefties!

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Dale @ 4:30 pm

President Obama is left-handed.  That may not mean much to “righties,” but it’s a big deal if you’re left-handed.   Lefties keep track of each other.

There have been eight left-handed U.S. presidents; including James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman and more recently Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.  During the 1992 presidential election all three major candidates were left-handed (George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot).  And so were both major party candidates in last year’s election (John McCain and Barack Obama).

Lefties have been leaders (Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte), artists (Michelangelo, da Vinci, Picasso), authors (H.G. Wells, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain), actors (Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Tom Cruise), and musicians (Judy Garland, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix).   

Two late night TV talk show hosts (Dave Letterman and Jay Leno) are left-handed, and so are two U.S. Supreme Court justices (Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsberg).

Given the numbers of accomplished lefties, you would think we would have reached equality by now.  Not quite.

Left-handed people don’t live as long as right-handed people, probably because of the stress of adapting to a world made for right-handed people.  Many products (for example, school desks, cash registers, and oven mits) are made for righties, and even simple tools like scissors have to be used in a less than efficient way. There’s a report going around the internet that 2,500 people die each year trying to use power tools with their left hand.  Toilets are the only things made for lefties, which tells you what designers think of us.    

And lefties have a social stigma.  Some people don’t want to sit next to us, for fear of being elbowed, so we are typically relegated to a corner spot.

It’s somewhat comforting that lefties aren’t alone.  Around one in eight people are left-handed, which makes us a sizeable minority group and, if we were to unite, a significant voting block.

Lefties ought to ask Justices Ginsberg and Kennedy to include us in anti-discrimination laws. Or better yet, maybe we should ask President Obama to include financial help for lefties in the economic stimulus bill.   

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