18 November 2007

The good, bad, and indifferent southpaw

“Things Lefties Are maybe Not So Good At!” turned up on StumbleUpon, and I found it whiny. My own take:

  • Public telephones: not a problem. If ya just gotta do the full smash left-handed, you hold the receiver between shoulder and ear and let your fingers do the walking just like anyone else. Working a cellphone keypad right-handed is hell, though.
  • Remote controls: huh? They suck, end of story. See also my comments about cellphones.
  • Tone arms: again — huh?
  • Writing: since this can’t be taught with the mirror method, it takes a lot of practice to get up to speed with one’s right-handed peers... but after controlling for extensive computer use, my printing’s always been spiffy. My cursive is another story entirely. And I never, ever bother with felt-tipped pens for writing, and I would sooner take the time to do a slideshow than attempt a whiteboard presentation; while more time-consuming, the former approach ensures that people will actually be able to read the ideas I’m trying to express.
  • Scissors: like so many items on this list, a non-issue for kids (and consequently adults) who suck it up and go to the effort of catching up.
  • Trousers with one back pocket: again, a non-issue. You get into the habit, and on blue jeans and the like, the left pocket always goes empty.
  • Zippers: not a problem, except that I didn't get the hang of them until I was well past my ninth birthday.
  • Recreation requiring sticks or clubs: now this list starts to make some real sense. I refuse to learn golf because of the hassles that go along with being a left-handed golfer. I’ve never shown any aptitude for hockey or baseball (though I suspect that has more to do with my comparatively poor depth perception), and I struggled through learning billiards, which I shoot right-handed except when forced into shots that other players make behind-the-back.
  • Shoelaces: the mirror method rulez, people. Problem is, no-one figured that out to my benefit until I was seven years old. That was one of my more significant humiliations as a kid.
  • Notebooks: looseleaf paper, sewn/perfect binding, and top-set spirals are da bomb — and chances are on any given day that you can go to a store that sells them.
  • Checkbooks: oh, puh-leeze. Tear the leaf out before you write on it. How hard is that?
  • The chained pens at the bank: oh yes, now you’re cookin’ with gas.
  • ATM machines: huh? The greatest risk for me is losing my card in the older machines that don’t return your card before spitting out your money, because the focus of my attention drifts to the left as a matter of course. Actually operating the things is not any particular challenge, though.
  • Keypads and mice: again, practice makes perfect. I can easily pass ten-key tests aimed at non-experts, have been able to since I was a teenager. And mice pretty much need to be on the right, since the housings of most mice are molded specifically for the right hand. Even a mouse that’s symmetrical on the axis parallel with the direction I’m facing is a pain in the ass to use left-handed, after so many years of right-handed mousing.
  • Duelling elbows in restaurant booths: now, this one I feel with my gut. If I’m out to eat with you, I will insist on sitting on your left, and that will be the end of the conversation.

Moving on from the list on the linked page, the two things that always drive me up the wall are cabinet video games and kitchen setups, which almost universally demand the greatest dexterity from one’s right hand if one is to avoid crossing or switching hands in the course of using them. Bleh.

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