The Guardian reports that the news that left-handers excel at some sports but not others confirmed my thoughts that the 10% of people that make up us southpaws are used to punching above our weight. A study published in the journal Biology Letters concludes that being left-handed is an advantage in sports where time pressures are particularly severe – such as table tennis, or cricket, or squash.
I always held dear the fact I was born a left-hander. It felt like a little badge of honour, like having a little superpower. To this day, I find myself scanning the room to seek out kindred spirits and upon discovering a fellow left-hander, giving them a knowing wink and a smile.
While I have never been forced to favour my right hand by teachers or anyone else in positions of authority, I have still been treated unfairly. Keen to learn the guitar at the age of 11 with a new indie revolution whirring in our social consciousness, I signed up for a lunchtime music club in which we’d be taught the basics. I was met with a sigh, a grunt and a grumpy teacher mumbling something about “having to restring the thing” and: “Can you not use your right hand like everyone else?”
Along with using a PC mouse, it’s the only time I have betrayed my left-handedness in favour of convenience. The rest of the time, it’s one big struggle.
Society’s inability to cater for left-handers is an issue that needs tackling. Writing with anything other than a pencil is a chore. Once, when I was provided with a fountain pen to practise neat handwriting at school, there was more ink on my hand than there was on the paper, creating the impression that I had wrestled with a squid.
Kettles are often ergonomically designed to benefit right-handers. Jugs have the measures on the wrong side. Toilet flushes are mostly always on the right. Tin openers are an ordeal. Spiral notebooks are the devil’s work. The list goes on and on.
Yes, there are items specifically designed for left-handers. But these need to be on the high street shelves, not hidden away in some shop resembling Ned Flanders’ Leftorium from The Simpsons.
Are you a left-hander? How do you help your pupils in the classroom? Are they provided with enough leftie equipment? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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