No more than 10 % (and perhaps as little as 5%) of the world’s population is left-handed.
I’m one of them.
Most of us have terrible handwriting.
In my case, it’s partly because the school desks of my youth looked like this:
Notice where the arm-support is? Notice that it’s fixed?
When we, the left-handed kids, were developing our penmanship we had to twist around in our seats to get support on a corner of our desks.
And not only that.
Did you notice this thing in the upper right-hand corner?
It was a place into which an inkwell was inserted.
Back then, we were taught to write with nibbed pens.
And left-handers, as they wrote, invariably “blotted their copybooks” (ever wonder where that phrase came from?) as their hands passed over the wet ink unless they positioned their hand, as they wrote forward, so that the heel passed over the top of the line. (Yes, it is possible. All left-handers, back then, did it.)
But it came at a cost.
I got terrible grades in penmanship.
And my cursive handwriting, to this day, is so difficult to decipher, that I usually write notes to other people in block letters.
Leonardo da Vinci was a “lefty”.
And his famous “mirror writing” was a practical solution to a real problem.
By composing from right to left, he could allow his hand to precede what he was writing – just like a right-hander does naturally. And that hand never ran over wet ink.
I tried to talk my third-grade teacher into letting me do it.
But she wouldn’t go for it.
We left-handers are also challenged by scissors (generally contoured to be used in one’s right hand), checkbooks (that open on the left, leaving us no place to rest the heel of our hands when we’re writing a check) and all sorts of other stuff like manual pencil sharpeners and cheese grinders.
There are other disadvantages, too:
On the average, we live nine years less than right-handed people.
And we’re three times as likely to become alcoholics. (This, because we make more use of the right-brain than right-handers do, and the right-brain has a lower tolerance to alcohol.)
The trade-off for writers, painters and musicians is that creativity is a right-brain function.
Artists in our ranks, in addition to Leonardo, include Raphael, Michelangelo, Holbein, Dürer, Klee and Escher.
We also have a few world conquerors like Alexander the Great and Julius Cesar.
Some football (soccer) greats like Cruyff, Pelé and Maradona.
And the all-time Olympic great Mark Spitz.
And, yeah, okay, I admit it, such famous criminals as John Dillinger, The Boston Strangler and Jack-the -Ripper.
How about some of you other lefties reading this contribute a comment and be counted?
Leighton – Monday