That’s left handed rather than being a Trotskyite…
I have heard the number of left handed people is increasing – at present it is around 10% of the population. Probably because people now want to mate with us. Apparently before nobody wanted to marry left-handed people because they were sinister (Latin word for left). In Greek the word for left handed is skaios which means awkward. In Italian, the word is mancino which means crooked, and in French the word is gauche, which means clumsy. Many religions and customs regard the left side as being bad luck. For example
- Evil spirits lurk over the left shoulder – throw salt over this shoulder to ward them off.
- Joan of Arc (burned at the stake in 1431 for being a heretic and a witch) was not necessarily left-handed, she may have been depicted in this way to make her seem evil.
- Getting out of bed with the left foot first means that you will have a bad day and be bad tempered . i.e. getting out of bed the wrong side.
- A ringing in the right ear means that someone is praising you. In the left ear it means that someone is cursing or maligning you.
- An itchy right palm means that you will receive money. An itchy left palm means you will have to give money.
- If you hear the sound of a cuckoo from the right it will be a lucky year. If the sound comes from the left it will be unlucky.
- The Meru people of Kenya believed that the left-hand of their holy man has such evil power that he had to keep it hidden for the safety of others.
- If your right eye twitches you will see a friend, if it’s your left eye that twitches you’ll see an enemy.
- When dressmaking it’s believed to be bad luck to sew the left-hand sleeve onto a garment before the right sleeve.
- When leaving to go on a journey, if your right foot itches you’re bound to have a good journey. If your left foot itches it will end in sorrow.
- Christianity is strongly based towards the right hand. It is the right had that gives the blessing and make the sign of the cross.
- On one count, the bible contains over 100 favourable reference to the right-hand and 25 unfavourable references to the left-hand.
- The situation is much the same in Judaism and Islam. In Islam, the left hand and everything associated with it is seen as unclean. This stems from the Middle Eastern custom of using the left-hand and water instead of toilet paper and, more recently, of using the left handed to hold toilet paper for the same function. This is the origin of the term “cack-handed”
- We talk about ‘having two left feet’
Anyhoo, when I grew up it wasn’t so much fun being a leftie. At school I was forced to write, play sport and do things like sewing and cutting paper with my right hand. I can do it but I totally suck at it because I am actually left handed so my right hand didn’t function well at all. But my left hand is, as a result, untrained so now I am terrible at doing certain things with either hand.
I battle to peel vegetables or open tins with standard tin openers. I find it difficult to pour from anything which has the spout facing the ‘wrong’ way, I used to battle to write in a right handed cheque book, the standard lecture desks when I was at university had the writing table on the right. When I write with fountain pen or pencil my hand smudges it. I can’t cut bread very well and chip and pin code pads and card swipers are often designed for right handers.
Things are looking up though – we have our own day (International Left-Handers’ Day) on August 13th. Here is a nice site for things for left-handed people.
Many American Presidents have been left handed
- James A. Garfield (1881) 20th
- Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) 31st
- Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) 33rd
- Gerald Ford (1974-1977) 38th
- Ronald Reagan (1981 -1989) 40th (actually a right-handed writer)
- George H.W. Bush (1989-1993) 41st
- Bill Clinton (1993-2001) 42nd
- Barack Obama (2009 – present) 44th
The 1996 election involved three left-handed candidates: Clinton, Perot, and Bob Dole. Additionally, both major-party candidates in the 2008 presidential election – Barack Obama and John McCain – were left-handed.
Here is a list of 100 famous left-handed people. There is a longer list here
Leonardo Da Vinci
Henri de Toulouse Lautrec
Peter Paul Rubens
Amitabh & Abhishek Bachchan
Robert De Niro
Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen
Sarah Jessica Parker
Chewbacca the Wookie
Janet Street Porter
Sir Paul McCartney
Jack The Ripper
Joan of Arc
President George Bush
Sir Bobby Charlton
Diego Armando Maradona
I would be keen on hearing the experiences of other lefties out there.