Sunday, February 27, 2011

A View from the Left

I read a tidbit the other day which highlighted some unusual and little-known facts about our Presidents past, and this one in particular caught my eye:

President James Garfield could write in Greek with one hand and in Latin with the other ... simultaneously.

He must have been very entertaining at State Dinners. Aside from the fact that, unless you were a Classical scholar, you undoubtedly couldn't read what he was writing anyway, just the ability to perform such multi-tasking is admirable. (I tried it -- I couldn't even write my name!) The article also went on to reveal that four of our last seven presidents were left-handed, including our current Commander-in-Chief.

The question of handedness is one I find interesting. I am actually cross dominant, which means I perform certain tasks with one hand and certain tasks with the other. But since I write with my left hand, I have always considered myself a southpaw. I'm even drinking my morning coffee out of a Boynton mug declaring my allegiance:

Left-handedness has long carried with it negative connotations. The word "sinister" comes from the Latin "sinistra," which means left. We've all heard the tales of American teachers in the past correcting the left-handedness of their pupils. In India and Indonesia, it is considered extremely impolite to use your left hand for anything but "toilet duties." And how many times have you heard someone reference a left-handed compliment, which is poor excuse for praise?

I've even had customers mention my left-handedness. Several have pointed out that I write with the wrong hand. Others marvel that I can write without twisting my hand around above what I'm writing. But my favorite so far was the businessman who came in and handed me a deposit. The checks and cash were mixed up together, requiring me to sort them out. His apology? "Sorry about that. She [his secretary] is left-handed."



Anyway, I felt the need to spotlight some of my favorite famous lefties. (Oh, by the way, it's a myth that lefties are more creative than "normal" people. Creativity requires both sides of the brain.)

Jimi Hendrix:

Sergey Rachmaninov:

Albert King:

Judy Garland:

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