Friday, August 12, 2011

Which Hand?


Today we celebrate Left Handed folks.  These are extraordinary people, I say this because there is only about 10 to 15% of the population that are left handed. After doing some researching you would think that left handed folks are afflicted with a disease.  Back in the old days people used to think being left handed was evil.  I have been told that I should have been left handed, but every time I went to use my left hand my mother would stop me.  If you could see my handwriting you would know something was wrong.  My friends at work would tell me I should have become a doctor instead of a nurse, because nobody could read my writing.  I would get U's (unsatisfactory) in penmanship, and one summer my father made me spend the whole summer writing, but still didn’t help. 

There are a few theories on why folks are left handed.  There are some that think the left hand was closest to the mouth while in the womb.  There are others who think that left handers have a little more testosterone than right handed folks.  Then there is the twin, or vanishing twin theory where one is right handed the other left handed.  Being left handed is definitely genetic.  Researchers believe they have located a gene that causes one to be left-handed.  The way the brain works is incredibly complex, but this simplified explanation will give you some understanding of where our left-hand dominance comes from. The brain is "cross-wired" so that the left hemisphere controls the right handed side of the body and vice-versa and hand dominance is connected with brain dominance on the opposite side - which is why we say that only left-handers are in their right minds!

Being left handed in a right handed world is not an easy task.  Southpaws, as they are sometimes called, adapt quite well.  Even though, there are still some products made especially for left handers.  Tools such as scissors, knives, musical instruments, gaming devices even guns.  One of the more difficult tasks for a left hander is writing.  As you write, your hand drags across the paper.  However for left handed writers, this would cause their hand to drag across the wet in, and smearing it.  That is why you will notice the unusual way they bend their hand while writing.

There are many famous left handed folks.  Some think that being left handed is an indicator of high intelligence.  In fact, of the past 7 presidents, 4 have been left handed, including President Obama.  Other left handed presidents include:  James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

To find more left handed folks visit this site: http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/left.html

So today, as we celebrate left handers don’t think of them as strange, sinister, or handicapped, they have a unique ability to function in a different way.  Why not spend the day trying to do tasks with your left hand to fully appreciate their abilities.

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