Friday, April 13, 2012

The Life of a Lefty


I didn't choose this life, it chose me. My mom placed the crayon in my right hand, but my left hand took over when I first printed my name. After no one could read it, the crayon was placed back in my right hand again. This kept happening until my mom finally declared me a lefty, lit a cigarette, and left the room. I thought I wrote my name just fine. It wasn't until after I saw how my classmates wrote their names that I knew I was in trouble. 

When it came to sports there was a lot of confusion about which would be my throwing arm, and what batting stance I would take. Through a series of  Ed Nortonesque  twists, turns, and flicks of the wrist, I finally made some decisions. I would throw righty and bat lefty. Of course none of this really mattered, because I still couldn't throw or hit the ball further than the person standing next to me.

As I grew older, my handwriting only got worse. My cursive was once compared to an inmate on Death Row. The insult would have been less devastating if it hadn't been from my English teacher. It also didn't help that when I'd get nervous, my hands would perspire, and I'd have to turn in ink blotted papers, not to mention resembling a one handed Smurf.

Now that cursive writing is practically non-existent, I find myself printing more often. I've actually been told that my printing has improved.  Sometimes I sleep with a notepad by our bed, and scribble notes until the wee hours. Unfortunately, I often have trouble deciphering those notes in the morning.

Consequently, my husband and I were at a meeting for a committee that  reaches out to seniors. Our assignment was to report on what senior programs were available at  local churches and synagogues . The meeting had been postponed several times, so my notes were all shriveled up. When it was my turn to address the group, I referred to my notes about special activities for seniors. Then I stumbled on the last few words when I saw the initials SOT. I tried desperately to remember what SOT stood for, and then my husband glanced over my shoulder and said, "It's not SOT, it's fifty plus."


  1. It must be awkward to be left handed, though I suppose it one has always been that way you don't know any difference. I tried once to write left handed when my right hand was injured and found it most disasterous.

    Have a grand week-end.

  2. It really must be torture to try to do something with your hand when your brain is telling you some thing else.

  3. I'm a lefty too! And I've always loved that I am! Fortunately, I didn't have quite the same struggles that you did. I bat right handed and throw better right handed and bowl right handed, etc. And my writing has always been good...probably because my mother showed me how to handle writing with my left hand- which is strange because she's right handed...However, I cannot cut a straight line to save my life! Not with right or left handed scissors. And I still think that may be due to my handedness. :)

  4. ha ha - I'm laughing because I've been there and did that. I'm a lefty too. Now that I have Parkinson's, my writing is even worse than before. In my case, my mother would not let the teachers switch me when they wanted to. It seems she was always running off to school in my behalf talking to a teacher and telling them to leave me left handed. It's funny because I do everything right handed except write and eat - that's always with my left hand,

  5. two of my sons are left handed--it never occurred to me to change it---interesting post!

  6. Awesome! Glad other leftys are sharing. Interesting thing about the death row comment, I think 70% of inmates are lefties!

  7. My uncle thought being left handed was a special gift. He worked hard to perfect it. It was said that trying to change hands could cause stuttering.

    Enjoyable reading.

  8. Maybe you were destined to be a doctor???

    At least being a southpaw isn't a tough nowadays as it was when we were kids. Teachers treated the left-handed kids as though they were a mutation that must be cured. It was pitiful watching the natural lefties trying to write with their right hands. Or if they chose to hang onto their fountain pens with their left hands, the teachers still made them position themselves and their paper just the same as the right-handed kids. Bottom left hand corner of the paper pointed to the center of the body, back straight, feet on the floor ... and bless their hearts, their left hand in all manner of tortuous positions to attempt to write with a right-handed slant to their writing. I'm glad it's gotten better.

  9. I can't tell you how many times I sat up in the night, turned on the light, wrote down my dream and in the morning wondered what all those weird marks on the paper were.

  10. My sister is a lefty and taught me how to use scissors - with the scissors backwards or maybe just upside down. I didn't realize I was doing it wrong until my kids showed me how right-handed people hold scissors.

  11. You'd hear my laughter if this comment had audio. I'm not a left hander, but some of my notes produce equally undecipherable words. My husband often calls me if he'd doing a grocery run to ask what the heck I meant by item four on my list. Cheese might look like cloth or milk might look like mouse. It happens.

  12. Married to a lefty. He always gets the outside seat when we eat out and sit in a booth {so he's not bumping his left arm with everyone when eating and cutting} The price? He always has to get up when others have to use the restroom. Can you hear him groan?

  13. I loved the ending, LOL. I have terrible handwriting and can relate.

    I can't believe a teacher said your handwriting looked like a death row inmate. I can't see the point of any teacher saying such a nasty thing, that doesn't help a kid at all.

    I've noticed that since I type all the time on the computer, my handwriting has become steadily worse. I almost always print now when I have to write by hand, otherwise no one would be able to read it.

    1. Julie, Actually someone else made a similar comment, but I thought it sounded funnier coming from a teacher. I only print now too, but try to keep it to a minimum! Thanks Julie!

  14. Yvonne - It was always awkward for me, yet I know other lefties with lovely handwriting. Thanks Yvonne, and have a great weekend too!

    Manzie - I just remember feeling more embarrassed than anything.

    Empty Nester - It's nice that your mom was so helpful. I'm still horrible with a scissors too, that's why I panicked when I thought my son was taking after me!

    Mary - I like that your mom always stood up for you! Sorry that things are more difficult now. Thanks Mary!

    Lynn - Then I'm sure they are very intelligent and creative boys! Thanks Lynn!

    Thanks Bushman!

    Jayleftme - Not sure about that one, but anything's possible!! Thanks for stopping by!

    Yvonne - Never heard that before, but stuttering is stress related. Thanks Yvonne!

    Susan - I do give accurate diagnosis over the phone, but you wouldn't want me for your surgeon! Lefties definitely have it easier now with computers and texting. Thanks Susan!

    Delores - It is frightening isn't it?

    Tonja - It's cute how your kids showed you!

    Lee - Did he ever accidentally bring you home a mouse? Thanks for making me feel better!

    Jen - That is another downside, but at least it's good for his circulation! Julie

  15. I see you and my son have a lot in common. :) He's not a lefty, but he has the worst handwriting ever. Can't write in cursive either. Yay for computers!

  16. It really is a right-handed world. I'm right-handed myself, but I've often thought about how so many things are designed/set up in ways that must make life incredibly challenging for the lefties among us.

    Loved the anecdote about 50+!

  17. Bet my right-handed scribbles could rival yours.

  18. I love getting new perspective on things I've never experienced. Thanks for that :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  19. I agree with Kern, it really is a right-handed world. :/ However, as for handwriting... I may be right-handed but that doesn't mean anyone's ever been able to read my writing. My cursive was atrocious. And I'm lucky if I can read my own notes taken during the day...thank the world for phones these days so I can finally read my middle of the night notes!

  20. Last year I finally came out of the closet about the true extent of my left-handedness, after having suspected it for much of my life. I was very confused and discouraged because I grew up writing right-handed but doing just about everything else left-handed, and even taught myself to write left-handed starting at the age of seven, to impress my lefty uncle. My mother in particular kept insisting I was just being oppositional or lying, like I were faking strength and dexterity in my left hand. Now I know that handedness is not primarily or solely determined by one's primary writing hand, and last summer I switched my primary writing and eating hand from right to left. I couldn't be happier with it, and am so proud of how wonderful my left-handed writing now looks. My uncle, who passed on when I was eight years old, must be very proud from the other world. I love cursive, and am rather sad that so many people don't use it or even teach it anymore. Printing always seemed rather childish to me, the kind of writing you when you're not old enough to learn the beautiful, adult cursive.

    My so-called fiancé was born a lefty, but his Soviet grandparents shamed and bullied him out of it, and his parents just let it happen. Three out of the four guys I've been in love with have been lefties, and I always have a lot of lefties and ambidexterians in my books, along with themes of left-handed pride and awareness of what lefties went through in history.

  21. Hahaha! Too funny! But you know, Julie, all my life I WANTED to be a lefty. You see, all of the most creative and imaginative people in the world are lefties. I'm not sure why that is, but I always wanted to be included in that club. I tried to force myself to write left-handed, but I couldn't. So consider yourself among the creative elite! What a great place to be!!

  22. Oh my, you certainly 'left' nothing out in this entertaining post. A delight to drop by and check out your entertaining blog. I'm now wondering if right-handed folks are called 'northpaws' :)
    Nice to note that you are doing the challenge that brings further awareness of the alphabet. And thank you for linking into my shy, humble and so unassuming blog. Very kind of you and you may now note my um 'gorgeous icon photo' amongst your adoring 'followers'. Take care and have fun with the alphabet.
    In kindness, Gary

  23. L.G. - Well your son certainly sounds like a fine young man then! I'm with you Agent Smith!

    Kern - There are so many worse challenges that people have to face. I just enjoyed poking fun at this one. That just happened a few months ago, and I'm glad we've taken a long break since then! Thanks Kern!

    Alex - I find that hard to believe, because you put your all in everything you do! Thanks for dropping by so often during your hectic co-hosting schedule!

    Thanks Sarah!

    Valerie - Between phones and computers we're able to get by a lot easier now!

    Carrie-Anne - I never thought about lefties from a historical perspective before. You raise some interesting points and I'm glad that you had the courage to "come out of the closet" and face your true handedness with your hand held high! Now we have to work on your "so-called fiance!"

    Nancy - With that kind of dedication I will gladly make you an honorary member of our club! Can you bring the snacks?

    Gary - "Northpaws" would be another perfect post for "N!" That's a huge compliment coming from such an "entertaining" fellow like yourself! Thanks for following me, and I look forward to many laughs ahead! Julie

  24. This is so funny!
    But aren't left-handed people supposed to be more intelligent in some way? I'm sure I read something somewhere... but I can't give you details.
    Or am I just making it up? *shrugs*

  25. I'm a lefty! and proud of it. Married another lefty too. Had two right-handed kids. My mother was a lefty so when the teacher tried to force me to write right-handed, she showed up in class the next day and let the teacher know that it was a done deal, I'm a lefty and that's that.
    I can paint nice pictures even if my handwriting is pretty bad.

    Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

  26. I'm a lefty too! You're probably getting all kinds of comments on this one! Yes, we are in a world of our own. :-) Love the organ donor post. A beautiful and important thing for all of us to do. My O post was on being overwhelmed by the a-z challenge! Stop by for a visit! Clicking my name will take you there.