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Leftworld

There was a small-time store for left-handers I used to support. I had its page liked on Facebook, which is something I rarely do even for small businesses I really DO like that much. One day, I noticed that I stopped getting its feed. I visited their page and noticed that not only had they not updated anything since 2010, but their information had been reduced. I looked up the place on Google and spotted its Twitter feed, which has been dormant for over a year. My natural conclusion was that it had shut down.

There’s a need for stores that cater exclusively to lefties. Left-handed people are fairly common, but not so common that we’re taken into consideration about the small material products that get created. There are small little courtesy products like scissors and can openers that make it easier to be a southpaw in a world where people were once burned at the stake because of a few misunderstood Bible passages glorifying the right hand of the lord. For the most part, however, we’re stuck fighting through a right-handed world with even a lot of everyday activities. We don’t find pants with flies for left-handed people. All the cameras and video game controllers I’ve ever owned were designed with easier right-handed use in mind. And while it’s possible to learn how to play the guitar left-handed, it’s so tricky that a lot of the most prominent left-handed guitarists who ever lived learned to play right-handed, straight.

If the whole world was to suddenly convert to left-handedness tomorrow, and every product was for lefties when I woke up in the morning, I have to say I don’t know how well I’d make the adjustment. I spent my life fighting with right-handed things that make life difficult for not only lefties, but people like me who are lefties by necessity of birth defect on their right arm.

I’m so used to living in that world that I wouldn’t know where to begin if the world made an overnight shift to left-handers. More to the point is that I’ve spent a lifetime learning to use so many things right-handed that, in spite of my left being my dominant hand, I would have to go about re-training and reprogramming my head to use left-handed devices properly. Learning to use something meant to be used by a dominant hand that isn’t our own gives us the patience and persistence necessary to learn to use our right hands as compliments to our left hands, and over the course of time we begin to take our ambidexterity for granted. The difference is that while a right-hander keeps a left arm hanging around uselessly, southpaws are trained by modern instincts to have some extent of use for our right arms as well. Waking up in a left-handed world would deprive us of that because instead of using two hands to make up for the right-handedness we lack, we would suddenly be forced to adjust to barely needing our right arms to do anything.

I’ve learned to do several difficult things right-handed. When I try to play the few guitar notes I’ve learned in my life, I do it right-handed. I know how to shoot a bow and arrow right-handed, though I use firearms left-handed. I drive right-handed, but it isn’t like I have a choice in that matter.

Being left-handed is a blessing in that it makes lefties more ambidextrous. Right-handers don’t have this luxury – the world caters almost exclusively to their needs. But being left-handed means learning to use right-handed devices because the left-handed devices aren’t around as often as we would like.

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About Nicholas Croston

I like to think. A lot. I like to question, challenge, and totally shock and unnerve people. I am a contrarian - whatever you stand for, I'm against.

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