Are you a southpaw? Celebrate your ‘sinisterness’ this Left-Handers Day on the 13th of August.
History hasn’t been too kind to the left-handed among us. Until pretty recently being left-handed carried a lot of negative connotations. Historically, left-handed people were forced from childhood to use their right-hands for tasks such as writing and eating. In many European languages, including English, the word for the direction “right” also means “correct” or “proper” where as “left” can be associated with awkwardness or clumsiness such as in the idiom to have “two left feet”. The Latin word “sinister” means “left” and also “unlucky”. And to top it all off many every day tools, such as scissors and can openers, are designed for use by right-handed people making their use by left-handers difficult, painful or even unsafe.
Despite this many of history’s great minds and great leaders have been lefties. Three out of the last four US presidents have been left-handed – Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush. Napoleon Bonaparte, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Jimi Hendricks and of course, Ned Flanders, were also all left-handed. So if you’re part of the 9-15% of the population that is a leftie you’re in pretty good company.
If you’re left-handed, right-handed or even ambidextrous here are some ways to celebrate this Left-Handers day:
- Watch “When Flanders Failed“, the episode of The Simpsons where Ned Flanders opens the Leftorium
- Check out legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock
- Explore whether or not Napoleon’s left-handedness impacted on his rise to power in Philip Dwyer’s Napoleon: the path to power
- Find out why we’ve been so unkind to left-handers in The Puzzle of Left-Handedness by Rik Smits.