I’m left-handed. It’s something I’ve always thought was kind of fun, despite the inconveniences of rooms with only tiny right-handed desks (think the JSB at BYU), getting ink smudges on my hand when I write, and the concern about risking my life should I ever attempt to use power tools.
Growing up, I heard that left-handed people were more likely to be geniuses, insane, and criminal– all of which sounded like deliciously exotic possibilities. My brother introduced me to baseball card collecting when I was around eight years old, and I smiled to see the advantage of being a left-handed batter (you’re a step closer to first base). Is anyone surprised that I turned out to be somewhat left-leaning in my political views?
I once read an interesting study in which right-handed children were much less likely to know the handedness of their parents than were lefties. It made sense to me– I suspect that most people are much more aware of any characteristic they possess which places them in a small minority. It’s something I often find myself observing; I love watching Theoden fight left-handed in Return of the King, and always find it a bit disconcerting that in the scene in which he rides down the line of his men, hitting their swords with his own, he does it right-handed.
I don’t know if this is at all related to my left-handedness, but I also have real problems with left-right confusion. If you give me a minute to think about it, I can discern left from right– but off the top of my head, chances are I’ll get it wrong. Many years ago when I was a suffering driver’s ed student, my instructor had to repeatedly say “No! Your other right!” as I failed to follow his turning instructions. Some part of my brain has simply connected what is commonly labeled “left” with “right,” and try as I might, I’ve never been able to undo it. Left simply feels like right to me.
Church, I find, is a place where I’m likely to be aware of my left-handedness simply because there is so much handshaking going on. I always carry my scriptures in my right hand, in order to leave the left one free for opening doors and so forth. This puts me in an awkward position, however, when someone wants to shake my hand; I have to either quickly shift the scriptures, or simply do a left-handed shake.
I won’t even touch the profound theological question of whether it’s acceptable to take the sacrament with one’s left hand, or to sustain someone. But I do wonder about all those scriptures which state that the wicked will find themselves on the “left” hand of God. I just have to ask– are lefties more likely to be left behind? Because the way I see it, choosing the wrong is clearly a problem, choosing the right is somewhat better, and choosing the left is best of all.
- 4 February 2006