Left Out This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   "Nearlybranded a Communist, 'cause I'm left-handed." - Paul Simon.

One in 10people reading this is left-handed. There are nearly 34 million of us living inthe United States, and about 500 million in the world. Throughout history,though, lefties have been looked down upon.

Centuries ago, the CatholicChurch declared that left-handed people were servants of the devil. The word"left" comes from the Old English word meaning "weak" and"worthless." In the 1600s in Europe, lefties were burned at the stakefor alleged witchcraft and sorcery.

Just a generation ago, Americanparents tried to change their children's left-handedness, even going to theextreme of tying their child's left hand behind his back to keep him from usingit. Teachers also forced their students to use their right hands. This, however,is not recommended, since switching hands may lead to stuttering and dyslexia.

The good news, though, is that some of the most eminent contributors tosociety have been lefties. Both Jay Leno and David Letterman are left-handed, asare Julia Roberts, Matthew Broderick, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert DiNiro,Whoopi Goldberg, Lisa Kudrow, Marilyn Monroe, Jerry Seinfield, SylvesterStallone, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bruce Willis and Oprah Winfrey.

Famousleftie artists include Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso and LewisCaroll.

And, although they have trouble with a "backward"guitar, many musicians are also among us: Beethoven, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr,Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon, Kurt Cobain and Billy Corgan.

Southpaw athletes,mainly baseball stars, include Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, KenGriffey Jr. and Larry Bird. (Sportswriter Charles Seymour invented the term"southpaw" when he noticed that lefty pitchers throw from the southside of the mound.)

Furthermore, geniuses and icons like Albert Einstein,Aristotle, Isaac Newton, Joan of Arc, Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Julius Caesar,Napoleon and Henry Ford were lefties. Of 42 American presidents, seven have beenlefties.

But, some of the superstitions may be true, since lefties alsoinclude Billy the Kid, the Boston Strangler and Jack the Ripper.

Studies have shown that a child with two right-handed parents has only a 2percent chance of being left-handed. A child with one right-handed parent and onelefty has a 17 percent chance, and with two lefties for parents, the child has a42 percent chance of being a lefty. Also, men are three times as likely to belefties as women. One more fun fact: left-handedness is twice as common amongtwins as single births.

As only 10 percent of the population, it sometimesseems as though the world is against us! Nearly everything has been designed fora right-handed society. One of the biggest complaints: ink smears on both paperand your hand when writing. Computer keyboards, cameras, calculators, golf clubsand musical instruments are also problems.

Another hassle: wristwatchesare designed to be worn on the left arm. Don't agree? Place your watch on yourright arm and try to push the buttons or turn the knob. It's practicallyimpossible!

Even doors are made for right handers; with the doorknob onthe right side, doors seem backward to lefties. Cars have been made for aright-handed world as well, and lefties have been held liable for causing moreaccidents than right-handers.

Lefties are, however, always proud of theirleft-handedness. Some even claim, "God made a few perfect people in theworld, the rest are right-handed." And in their honor, lefties have aholiday: August 13 is International Lefthanders Day!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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LongLazyDays55 said...
Aug. 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm
I'm left handed! :) I find the difference between left and right really interesting. I have had a battle with right handed scissors for ages! I'm so glad I finally have I pair of my own! Great review! :D
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