As a left-hander, I am fully aware of the struggles of being a lefty. They first began in kindergarten, when my teacher noticed my difficulty operating scissors. I was promptly handed a clunky pair of stamped steel scissors with "lefty" marked on the side. Learning how to write was also a bit on an issue (and I still need to be careful to not smear ink by running my hand thru the writing). Next came sports, where baseball required a lefty mitt and I was placed at first base "because it's a good spot for lefties", said the coach. I would have preferred to just loiter around in the outfield.

The first thing I do when I get a new fishing reel is switch the crank handle to the opposite side. When looking at handguns, I search for models with ambidextrous (or reversible) mag releases. Buying a left-hand holster for my pistol meant ordering online, and good luck finding a lefty golf glove at the box stores or the clearance aisles at TJ Maxx. Can openers can be a struggle and watching me start a chainsaw is comically hazardous.

This year is the 30th anniversary of International Left Handers Day, according to the official website. They say,

August 13th is a chance to tell your family and friends how proud you are of being left-handed, and also raise awareness of the everyday issues that lefties face as we live in a world designed for right-handers.

Fun facts about left handedness (source: BBC):

  • 10 to 12% of the population is left-handed. I did an informal survey in our office and it appears that I'm one of two lefties in the building out of about a dozen employees.
  • In medieval times, left-handedness was considered a sign of witchcraft or evil. The word sinister comes from the Latin word for left. Some lefties were burned at the stake!
  •  Left-handedness is determined by genetics, and studies of babies sucking their fingers in the womb revealed about 90% of babies preferred their right thumb. They say if one or both of your parents are lefties, you have higher odds of being left-handed. Both of my parents are righties, so that's not always a guarantee. The study adds that toddlers use both hands equally up till about age two when a preference for their right or left hands usually becomes clear.
  • Left handed world leaders have included: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill and Prince William. Famous lefty celeb's include the likes of Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie, Justin Bieber and Simpson's creator Matt Groening. If you watch the show, you'll notice that Bart writes with his left hand.
  • Very few animals prefer their left "hands." Even our closest primates like gorillas and monkeys use both of their hands equally. One exception are kangaroos and researchers note that about  90% of parrots seem to prefer their left foot for picking things up. Polar Bears International debunked a common myth that the bears are lefties.

The International Left Handers Day website has a bunch of free graphics you can share on social media today to celebrate your lefty-ness. You can download them HERE.

Credit: International Left Handers Day
Credit: International Left Handers Day
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