Subject: How being different, makes one become different.

Date: Sat, 23 Aug 1997 12:31:37 GMT

From: !!!bmyers@ionet.net (TarlaStar)

Organization: Little Sisters of the Perpetually Juicy

Newsgroups: alt.lefthanders, alt.slack

 

I am the most left-handed person I ever met. I see better out of the

left eye, hear better out of the left ear, am more flexible with the

left leg and the words "I'm ambidextrous" have never escaped MY

lips...even from the weak right side.

 

The odds were NOT in my favor as a child. Out of a class of 50 kids, I

was the only left-handed one. There was a subtle prejudice about my

left-handedness as a child. I mean, my family was weird anyway, but

add to it that I was the only leftie in my grade in a Catholic school

and you get a hint at what it must have been like to have been born in

the middle ages. Left hand....sinister...the devil's hand. Fuck 'em. I

learned to LIKE being different from everyone else. I learned to like

being just as good and working with what was in those circumstances, a

handicap.

 

When I learned in 5th grade (my most pivotal year) that Leonardo Da

Vinci was left-handed, it literally rocked my world. I taught myself

to write backwards and was surprised at how easily it came to me. In

fact, today I can still mirror-write with ease (once I get

started...the first coupla letters suck, but then it flows nicely).

 

After Leonardo, I started paying attention when it was mentioned that

someone was left-handed, finding kinship through our mutual difficulty

at living in a right-handed world.

 

My family, strangely enough, never tried to change me. My father

bought me a left-handed baseball mitt so that I wouldn't be at a

disadvantage playing in the neighborhood. That was the only

specifically left-handed tool I ever used until I grew up.

 

Like most left-handed children, I had a hard time with penmanship. It

took a lot of practice for me to make those perfectly forward slanted

letters, but I learned. The only problem was...if there were no lines.

 

If there were no lines, and I was writing on the blackboard...my

writing would begin to head toward the ceiling. I think it was just a

natural method of keeping my hand out of the chalk, but it ended up

being my ticket to radicalism.

 

One day our regular teacher was out sick and the principal of the

school (who also taught 8th grade) took our class of 6th graders for

the day. She asked me to write something on the blackboard. I did. It

was a long passage and halfway through, she said, "Tarla, you don't

have to slant your letters forward: you're left-handed. As long as we

can read them, you can slant them any way you'd like." It was then

that I noticed that she too, was a leftie. That simple little thing,

changed my life. She gave me permission to be different because I was

left-handed! I became a radical from that point on.

 

I told other lefties not to cramp themselves for the sake of a

right-handed world. My handwriting slanted so far to the left that it

almost slid off the page. I learned everything backward. I knit and

crochet left-handed. I throw, hit and catch the ball left-handed, but

I've also learned to pull to the left when I hit so that all those

jackasses who move over to right field when I come up to bat, get

caught with their pants down by a line drive down 3rd base. Never

underestimate lefties, we are adaptable.

 

And I don't know about other left-handed people...but I'm competitive.

Being left-handed gets you these "sympathy" looks from people who

think that you're disadvantaged mentally, simply because you rely more

heavily on the opposite side of your brain than they do. I was always

competitive because OTHERS made a big deal out of my left hand. I'd

learn to be just as dextrous as they were just to prove that

left-handedness was NOT a disadvantage.

 

In high school, they didn't have any left-handed gloves for

softball...none, in a school with over 3000 kids, there wasn't ONE

left-handed glove. So I adapted. I used a right-handed glove, caught

the ball in my left hand, quickly switched the ball to my right as I

dropped the glove to the ground, tossed it back to my left and threw

it wherever it needed to go. This sounds complex, and in fact, it was

something of a wonder to watch (according to my P.E. teachers), but it

didn't take significantly more time...just more coordination.

 

In fact, I would say that rather than being clumsy...lefties are more

coordinated than most right-handed people. We have to deal on a daily

basis with a world that is absolutely not made for our

convenience...and not only do we, but for the most part, we do so

without bloodshed! In fact, it is this constant adaptation and

adjustment that gives left-handed people a 25% larger corpus collosum

(on avg.) We are forced by our world to make more connections, to

create more pathways between the halves of our brains. Being

different, gives us bigger brains.

 

There have only been a few times in my life when I was not in the

minority. Once, I worked in a restaurant where 6 out of ten employees

were left-handed. It was a strange experience to have things set up

for MY convenience for a change. Of course it was a random fluke and

within a few months, the balance had changed with the loss of some

lefties and the influx of the Normals.

 

The other time I'm not in the minority is when I'm around other

artists. Then I have a fifty-fifty chance of being with another (or

several) lefties. When I was in Santa Fe a couple of weeks ago, I had

an unusual thing happen. Those of us in one van went to dinner after

painting Lake Santa Cruz. We approached the table for four and as I

usually do, I wait to see where everyone is going to sit, so that I

can plan for my left arm. Well, everyone else was waiting too...turns

out, all four of us were left-handed and we could sit anywhere we

wanted to! It was great. We could all dip the guacamole at the same

time and not bump into each other. When everyone is lefthanded it

becomes a dinnertime ballet. So used are we to dealing with the

straying body parts of others; that without the worry of disturbing

the right-handed world, we become lithe and graceful.

 

I'm glad I'm left-handed. I don't know whether being left-handed has

made me like being different or whether I would have been different

even if I'd been right-handed and that being left-handed has just

reinforced a natural desire to stand apart. It doesn't matter at this

point. It's what I am.

 

Votre Maitre Sinestre,

 

Tarla

 

***

Reverend Mutha Tarla Star of the Little Sisters of the Perpetually

Juicy; a Proud jism schism of the Church of the SubGenius.

Worshipping Juicy Retardo and "Connie" Dobbs since 1986.