Subject: How being different, makes one become different.
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 1997 12:31:37 GMT
From: !!!email@example.com (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
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,
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.