When I write, my hand smudges the words and leaves leftover residue on my palm. My paper is always turned at a 45-degree angle, and because classroom desks are bias, I spent the majority of my school years working my bicep to support my arm mid-air. It’s never fun to sit in a booth at a restaurant, because more likely than not, I will be bumping elbows the whole meal with the person sitting next to me. And don’t even get me started on scissors, can openers, and computer mice. These nuances might sound familiar to my fellow lefties out there.
Beyond the physical obstacles we lefties face, there are psychological factors at play as well. Historically, left-handed people have been far from celebrated. In fact, in just the 1960s being left-handed was seen as evil. The word “sinister” is literally defined as: on, or toward the left-handed side. (Thanks Merriam-Webster.) In the past, Christianity associated the left with immorality and some teachers even used to force their students to write with their right hand, regardless of what their dominant hand was. Or how about the fact that people with psychotic disorders are more likely to be left-handed. I swear I’m not a psychopath. (Or is that exactly what a psychopath would say?) I digress.
Over time, the taboo of being a lefty slowly dissipated, and now is a unique quality of only 10% of the population. Babe Ruth, Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Mark Twain, and eight total U.S. presidents are left-handed. So instead of poo pooing us lefties, we might just be the next POTUS.
Every now and then, the left-handers of the world get a shoutout. Back in 2018, on National Left Handed Day, Oreo launched a campaign specifically for lefties. This clever advertisement not only highlighted the challenges of being left-handed but gave us something we could call our own: The Left-Handed Oreo. Finally, with packages that open from the left side rather than the right, Oreo won the lefty’s over by simply recognizing this small, yet significant portion of the population.
We adjust more easily to seeing underwater, we are Apollo astronauts, and we helped design the Macintosh computer. So mark your calendar, because August 13th is national left-handed day. I don’t know about you, but I will certainly be celebrating all those lefties in the world (probably with some Oreos).