THE UPPER HAND
Ken Griffey, Jr.
While Gail is not a famous baseball player—she did tear up a few softballs in her day—she is clearly in a league of her own.
In her cleaning endeavors, Gail carries lots of things in buckets. Carrying tunes, however, is not one of them.
Gail doesn’t exert much political influence, but her push for peace should be the first priority for EVERY politician.
Gail will likely never be as famous on the screen as these two, but crank her up, and her acting deserves a nomination for something…
Along with all the famous people listed above, Gail is left-handed. Suzanne and I are right-handed. Clearly, this provides further proof of Gail’s uniqueness. (Not to take away from our own uniqueness!)
Monday, August 13th, 2018, is International Left-Handers Day. It was first observed 42 years ago in 1976, having been created to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of left-handed people.
Between seven and ten percent of the world’s population is left-handed. This sinistrality (I had to look it up, it pertains to the left hand) is a trait that is largely misunderstood and under-appreciated. In the not-so distant past, left-handed children were not allowed to develop their left hand dominance.
This book was self-published in 1936 by the author, clearly indicating that it was viewed as a deficit to be overcome. I have heard multiple stories of teachers—especially nuns—using force to keep children from using their left hands. Historically, the left hand was associated with the devil. The word “left” originates from the Old English lyft, meaning “weak.”
Gail reported some of her left-handed acquaintances who are younger than her were subjects of such force from their teaching nuns to use their right hand during their school-age formative years.
Gail, Suzanne and I attended Catholic school in our small hometown, and Gail reported no such treatment from the nuns at our school. Our school, as well as our hometown, has always been a unique treasure to be celebrated and appreciated. I will do just that in a future post.
It is estimated that perhaps only one percent of the world’s population is truly ambidextrous. While some people use both hands for certain functions, the ability to seamlessly interchange the use of each hand for every task or function is quite rare.
Our 18 year-old son writes with his right hand, but bats and swings a golf club with his left hand. I recall a baseball tournament he was in when he was perhaps eight or ten, and the pitcher from the other team wasn’t comfortable pitching to a lefty, so they allowed him to walk to first base whenever he was at bat.
Gail reports that she did not have a mitt for her left hand, so she wore the right-hand mitt during her softball days. As with any other inconvenience, Gail simply made it work.
Gail recalled that Mom gave her this inspiration: “Everyone is born right-handed, but only the gifted overcome it.”
Much of my work as a speech therapist involves communication after a stroke. A stroke typically happens on one side of the brain or the other, but sometimes there are multiple strokes on both sides to treat. When it is isolated to one side, I look for a unique set of symptoms. If it is on the left, there is a strong chance that their verbal ability is greatly affected, because the language center is predominantly on the left side.
The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and vice-versa. So if the stroke happens on the left side of the brain, then the right side of the body will be affected.
Both halves of the brain share information across the corpus callosum, the thick band of fibers that connect them. This band, the original information superhighway, acts as a speedway between the two halves to allow communication from one side to the other, as each side depends on the other. When split-brain studies are conducted, it is clear that each side needs the other to perform at its maximum capacity.
In a right-handed person, the language center is located on the left side of the brain. In the vast majority of lefties—likely at least three-fourths—the language side is still on the left. This is difficult to determine without invasive and unnecessary procedures, so these numbers are estimates.
So, in that ten percent of lefties, there are perhaps two or three people out of one hundred who are cross-wired, with their language center on the right.
So, quite technically, the vast majority of lefties are still in your left brain. But we will let Gail, and all of you other lefties out there claim to be in your right mind.
The world is designed for right-handed people. However, progress with products made specifically for left-handed people has been made in the last few decades. Scissors, can openers, vegetable peelers, notebooks with the spiral on the right, measuring cups with the markings on the side, computer mouse, and even a guitar.
Both Gail and her husband are left-handed. Their two children, however, are both right-handed.
Gail provided interesting information from her left-hander’s calendar.
Gail mentioned the frustrations with scissors and notebooks, even certain pens don’t work well for lefties.
My stepson’s wife Lindsay is left handed as well. She recalled the frustration of having to drag her hand across the page after she wrote, thus always having lead or ink on the side of her hand.
Both of these strong and amazing women don’t let small things like that bring them down, because they know this for sure:
Suzanne and I decided to spend the afternoon together today. Before we met, she warned me: “I’m dressed like a trashy whore today.” (Whatever, Suzanne.) I told her I was pretty slicked up, wearing a nice blue sleeveless shirt and a (somewhat) short grey skirt. When I arrived at her place, she burst out laughing without even saying hello. I didn’t notice right away, but she, too, was wearing a sleeveless blue shirt and a (somewhat) short grey skirt. Clearly, we saw ourselves differently in our descriptions on the phone. Clearly, we are more alike than different, whether you call us trashy or slicked-up. As humans, we are all more alike than different, whether you are left-handed or right-handed
Mercifully, left-handedness is now appreciated as a unique quality to be celebrated, not a deficit to be fixed as it was so long ago. May all our unique human differences be celebrated someday.
To Gail, her husband, Lindsay and all you other lefties out there, Happy International Left-Handers Day on Monday August 13th.