Lefties of the World Unite and Take Over

Famous Lefties

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie
Jim Henson
Jim Henson
Robert De Niro & Tom Cruise
Robert De Niro & Tom Cruise
Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Ringo Star
Ringo Star
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain
Oprah and David Letterman
Oprah and David Letterman
Oscar dela Hoya
Oscar dela Hoya
Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth

I never thought anything of my being left-handed all my life. I do know I'm a bit different, a bit disadvantaged because most stuff that deal with the use of both hands were designed with right-handed people in mind. I remember smudging over my writing because I'd run over it with my hand. The seats in school where a small slab of wood that serves as the table is attached to right side of the chair had me turning my torso towards the right and I had to reach over with my left arm to get to my writing stuff, which did give me some discomfort. Other than that I can't recall any other difficulty. My handedness, sometimes called laterality is limited to writing only I guess. I can play the guitar alright, some say that may be a difficult feat for me. I guess I even have an advantage in racket sports because I can handle a racket with both my left and right hand. I play ping pong, badminton and a little tennis and always my opponents would complain over not knowing where my shot will go. I can also serve a volleyball with both hands but my right hand is stronger.

So I never really gave it much thought, until I saw US President Barack Obama signing his first documents in the White House with his left hand. Then the commentator mentioned that five of the last 10 US presidents (Ford, Reagan, HW Bush, Clinton and Obama) were lefties. It got me thinking if there was really anything there. The first thing I learned is that 90 to 92% of all humans are right-side oriented. I am in a very exclusive group then, there are only 8 to 10% of us in the whole wide world. Then I started recalling left-handed people that I know and I'm stumped! Well there's my father (probably where I got this from), then there's my boss at work and a client visiting from overseas.

What I discovered next scared me a bit, a study suggests that some groups of individuals with neurological disorders (dyslexia, downs syndrome, epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism and mental retardation) are left handed, then it went on to say that there are some genetic factors in play as well in the business of laterality. The etymology of the word “left” is likewise not very encouraging. The word “right” not only is a synonym for correctness but also justice and authority. The word left comes from the Latin sinestra, which also evolved into the negative word sinister. In French left is gauche meaning awkward or clumsy.

So much for the negative drift, I said to myself. Let's look for the upside of being left-handed. It seems that in the U.S., left-handers have a day, August 13 is the National Left-Hander's day. I totally have no idea what goes on in the celebration of the lefties but I sure am curious to find out. Maybe if all left-handers actively take part in this event then we could, all 10% of us start plotting to rule all of you right-handed populations in the world. Let's see if some of the famous left handers who came before us are leader material. On the top of the list is Marilyn Monroe, followed by Angelina Jolie. Hmmm that sounds just about alright. Jim Henson the puppet man is also in the list then there's Robert De Niro. Tom Cruise is also left handed and he is a certified dyslexic. Now the list gets better, we have Leonardo da Vinci who was not only a famous painter but was a scientist, engineer, mathematician, inventor, painter, architect, sculptor, writer, anatomist and a musician. Michaelangelo and Pablo Picasso were also left-handed. In the field of music there is the Beattle's Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix and Curt Cobain (McCartney and Hendrix have performed using left handed guitars, customized for them). In entertainment, there's David Letterman and of course, Oprah Winfrey who is very proud of being left-handed and had several shows dedicated to left-handedness. In world leaders, there the Cuban strongman Fidel Castro. The American golden boy of boxing Oscar dela Hoya is a lefty, scientists have suggested that lefties may even have an advantage over right-handed competitors in sports as evidenced by the “Sultan of Swat” Babe Ruth of the NY Yankees, who pitches and bats with his left hand.

For better or worse I am glad I'm a lefty, if only because most people I know are right-handed and that sets me apart somehow. I may have experienced some discomfort growing up and living in this right-oriented world but hey if I can live half the life these famous lefties lived then I'm fine.

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Comments 31 comments

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

My family is a hard core baseball family and it was said of my three uncles who played baseball in high school, the one who got to the pros was the lefty. He wasn't as good as the other two uncles but baseball and discrimination are historically linked. I find the tale of my right handed uncles who didn't get drafted to be injust and I hope lefties quit getting an extra hand up to success.

HA!


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

This is very informative as well as entertaining read. I have friends (none in my family) who are lefties and I must say they are indeed in great company. By the way have you heard of (Vamos) Rafa Nadal's lefthandedness? He was born a natural "right-handed" but was trained to play a leftie as lefties put a different spin on the ball and are a minority - therefore might leave the usually "right-handed" players unprepared. But he does everything else with his right hand. :D


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Interesting article - I seem to remember that, historically, up to a quarter of the population may have been lefties, but schooling and a lack of support reduced the percentage.


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

golden toad - (and im copying your manner of responding to comments), its not our fault that people seem to think we'll pitch better or bat better hehehe, the advantage is most of the opponents are right handed and we're probably throwing or batting to their weak side hehehe i really dunno what im saying here

cris - yes i love tennis and know of nadal, not that he's left handed though, maybe i didn't pay attention so much cuz im a federer fan (not a lefty this one, but great great player)

sufidreamer - my dad said the teachers would hit his left hand with a stick when he writes with it so he had to learn to write with his right hand, but as he grew older he became ambidextrous and a mean table tennis player

thanks guys!


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

we'll see about that at the Australian Open - provided of course they both reach the finals :D


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

What's the court they play at the aussies, i hear nadal's only good at clay or some other surface hehehe


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

it's hardcourt - but guess what? he has the best win-loss record in last year's hardcourt tournaments (most number of wins, too). but i do hope they meet in the finals - nothing like a fed-rafa match! :D


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

then i hope they face each other in the finals as well cris


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi buddy, congratulations!  Your left handedness has captured some attention! This hub is one of this week's hubnuggets!  Yes, yes, yes!  Go and click this link to read Shirley Anderson's hub to chew on some hubnugget activity!

http://hubpages.com/community/hubnuggets-jan30-200

Ssshhh..this is a secret between you and me.  I sometimes find myself envying the left handed person. So I would find myself practicing to write with my left hand.  I ended up with child like funny scrawls LOL so I gave up!  Thanks for a fun read.

And oh, invite your ""lefty" and well, "righty" friends to vote too :-)


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

Thanks ripplemaker, I have to say it feels so good getting picked for the list, I'm tingling all over! hehehe Writing (for me) is its own reward, but knowing that some people actually read my work is a ton of cherry atop the ice cream!


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

Hi buddy, I found your hub interesting about the left-handed people. I have a left-handed sister who dwelled on the downside of being left-handed. She was also an art major and has neurological problems. Thank you for your exploration of the upside of being left-handed. And congratulations for being chosen for one of this weeks hubnuggets.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland

Congrats on your nomination as a HubNugget! I loved this article because my oldest daughter (7) is a lefty. She has a hard time with her handwriting because she covers what is already written and cant write her letters the same size, plus she smears it! Her teachers have been giving her a hard time lately about her work being so sloppy. Thankfully she lets it go in one ear and out the other. Her work is always right, just hard to read! :) Fantastic article.


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

Dottie1 - I believe there is more of the upside than the downside, just look at the company your sister's in!

Ardie - My script writing is horrible, I've been writing in print for as long as I can remember and my letters are a bit set apart. I tried to study laws and had to bow out after a semester because they do not allow print writing and the fountain pen is a requirement, hehehe. But I still love writing longhand and have volumes of handwritten diaries and journals until now.

Thanks for reading the article guys, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.


NVarchitect 7 years ago

With so many people today being the same - It's good to be different. Lefties leverage this difference to follow their own path, which for many leads to the top. Well done on being nominated.


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

Thanks NVarchitect, I have always felt some sense of silent pride in the little struggles that I've overcome being a lefty. Of course I've also maximized what small advantage I've got to the hilt hehehe


Baldomero 7 years ago

Hi buddygallagher, i myself is a lefty as well as my son. Even i felt i was different with other kids in my class since i was the only lefty that i know of. It was quite a struggle when i was still in primary school but the good thing about being lefty is you learn to adapt. Congratulations also for your nomination on hubnugget. Keep up the good work (horsebackers - ton).


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

Thanks Baldomero, a lefty does not only learn to adapt but keeps his left orientation intact, which often gives him an edge in sports like I mentioned in the piece. I'm sure you've encouraged your son to take up a sport, I would suggest you get him into racket sports, baseball or bowling, I heard thats where we shine the most. Thanks for dropping by.


Ashley Tyler profile image

Ashley Tyler 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Great hub with lots of interesting stuff. Im left handed and never really thought much about it. Reading this has got me to thinking! LOL.....Congrats on this hub being a hubnugget too. I voted for you.


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

Thanks for the vote Ashley. If one good thing came out of this its that I know more lefties now than I ever did before.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

If you have children who are left handed, teach the to be a baseball pitcher and come to america--you'll make a fortune!  My dad was left handed.  I asked him if he thought the world was biased against left handers.  He said "yes."  It never bothered him though.  It was just a nuisance to him, nothing more.

Thanks for an interesting hub, and great pics of interesting left-handers.


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

Thanks Christoph, the advantage is just on the orientation. Like your dad, I learned early on that I live in a right-handed world and I think iI turned out just fine.


Lynett profile image

Lynett 7 years ago from USA

Left handers unite! We can do it!

Now I see where my dyslexia came from. I wrote everything backwards until second or third grade. Then I discovered I loved to read and never looked back. I'm a left handed writer, but the world has forced me to be ambidextrous when I do most everything else.

The bit about the presidents was very interesting, and I enjoyed reading about all the famous lefties:-)


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

Hi Lynett, glad you enjoyed the hub. Being ambidextrous gives you a bit of an edge still especially in sports.


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana

buddygallagher,

I am both but it is taught from my art teacher. I learned to do everything I could left handed but am naturally a righty. It sure makes it great when I need to reach something and the right side is in an awkward position. I also work with both hands to give each side a break. Good hub, interesting thing to write about. Lot's of things I really was not aware of, write on! Thumbs up.


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

Wow a reverse lefty hehehe. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, thanks for dropping by C.S.!


Monawrites profile image

Monawrites 7 years ago from Surry, Maine

I am the left handed (adult) child of two right handed parents. My kid sister is left handed, and I have a brother who was initially left handed, sent to catholic school and suddenly writing with his right hand. Now he is more ambidextrous than anything else, I think. One of my four children is left handed, and one of my grandchildren (not my left handed daughter's child) is turning out to favor his left hand at age 4.

When I first learned to write, I did something called 'mirror writing' and wrote my full name, first and last, backwards, absolutely perfectly--backwards!

I love being left handed, I have adapted and can use almost any utensil. I am a cook (avocationally) and I have no trouble using what I need in the kitchen, I found a veggie peeler that can be switched for either hand.

What is most interesting to me is that we lefties are right brained, and as the result, should evidently be more abstract minded people.

I have been told that more of us than not are artists, actors, etc...

My neurologist, (I have genetic MS, and as far as I know the others in my family who had it were right handed individuals) told me that we should actually be very good with numbers, kind of antithetical to the arts said he.

I am not good with numbers, however, I can draw fairly well, and love to write.

I am a nurse who worked for a long time in scientific research in biotech. I loved it and that is mathematical, but I wasn't comfortable with that aspect of my profession until I'd been at it for several years.

I used to carry a cheat sheet in my pocket for calculating medication before we were allowed to use calculators and before there was too much unit dose medication. By that time, I'd gotten into research and no longer worked clinically in a hospital.

It's always interesting to me when I meet other left handed people to see how they've adapted personnally. As with anything else, we are a diverse group and each have our own special way of looking at and doing things.

Thanks for all of that interesting informaton, I enjoyed the peice that you wrote. (AND I can't spell for beans!)


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines Author

oops sorry i missed this, so a family of lefties. the only lefty in my family that i know of is my father. yes youre correct when you said lefties can work most tools with both hands, from a comb, a toothbrush a serving spoon (though im the first to admit i confuse my cutlery sometimes...). the challenges would seem insignificant in when you think of the rewards... glad you liked this one and thanks for stopping by.


michaila mendoza 5 years ago

Do you have any journal or article about the Philippine research for left handers?...


yourpark profile image

yourpark 4 years ago from New York

I'm proud I'm a lefty. hehe


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 4 years ago from manila, philippines Author

i hear you youpark, i am proud as hell too :)

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