Monday, 13 August 2012

Today is apparently "World Lefthanders' Day"

- or so a friend informs me. He left a brief e-mail to remind me that "today is our day". He is, of course, left handed. He is very left handed indeed. Life has been a constant challenge for him - or so he claims.  Well yes, he welcomed ring pull cans because he no longer had to try and "use a can opener backwards". (Is that even possible?)
I am also left handed - after a fashion. 
I can do some things (equally badly) with either hand. I blame my mother for this. She thought I should be right handed. Whenever I tried to use my left hand I would get smacked. I was not supposed to be left handed. Everyone else in the family was right handed.
When I headed off to school my mother told them I was right handed and that I was to be right handed. I am old enough that this sort of statement was allowed and even encouraged. I can remember other left handed children. Every effort was made to make us right handed.
I can also remember the dreaded words, "Hold out your hand."  The teacher would mean my left hand. I would hold it out and the ruler would come down hard on my hand. 
One teacher refused to allow me to do any art and craft at all. She set me "extra writing". I made pot hooks while the other members of the class drew, coloured in, cut out, pasted, threaded and otherwise constructed bright colourful things. I hated her with a passion. I hated school. I think I hated the world that year. It made no difference. It is surprising that I still did well in every other subject. I came third in class that year. If I had been given any marks at all for writing I might have done rather better.
I wonder now just how much damage the attitude towards left handers did - and perhaps still does. Some of the most creative and able people in history have been left handed - just look at Leonardo da Vinci. There have been some idiots who were left handed too of course - but now I like to think I am not one of them.


jeanfromcornwall said...

How breathtakingly cruel and stupid that attitude to lefthanders was. I wonder what on earth was the rationale behind it. I am so firmly right-handed that if I was without the use of my right hand, I would effectively have no hands to use. So I can understand how wrongheaded it was.

Before I knew which way my babies were, I used to try always to offer any item, or implement, in a neutral way so that they could grasp it with the hand they preferred. They all turned out to be right-handers, but are all rather more useful with their left hands than I have ever been.

JO said...

One of my daughters in left-handed, but the school was wonderful, made the left-handed thing easy.

She also wore glasses, and could see very little without them. They made her take them off for games, as they were 'dangerous.' Then no-one picked her for teams, cos she couldn't see the ball. High jump? No way, she couldn't see the pole. Only hope it wouldn't happen these days.