Wayne Hinshaw column: Life as a left-hander

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Being left-handed in a right-handed world has always been an aggravation to me. Almost everything in this world is made for a right-handed person.

Being left-handed, I have had to adapt to using a right-handed camera all of my career. I’ll come back to the right-handed camera issue in a later column.

I ran across an article listing facts about lefties. I don’t know that I agree with all the so-called facts, but I found them interesting. Only about 10 percent of the population in the U.S. is left-handed. If you are a lefty, you will enjoy this, and if your are a righty, look upon lefties with understanding.

“Left-handed people may have a higher risk of brain disorder” according to Brainjet Daily Cerebral Stream, whatever that is. They say that all people use the left hemisphere of the brain for language. Thirty percent of the lefties use the right hemisphere instead. Lefties might have more schizophrenia and dyslexia. Lefties may be more artistically inclined and are drawn into careers in art and music. I’ll add photography to the list.

In the United Kingdom, a group started “Left-Handers Day” in the 1990s for making people aware of problems that lefties have.

A survey of 25,000 people showed that lefties drink more than righties, but may have more fun because of the drinking. The survey says, “more drinking,” but does not mean more drunkenness. Lefties might get angry quicker as their brains try to figure out the left-right processing for their moods. With the lefties drinking more and getting angry, we might have a problem.

Lefties are more sensitive to criticism, more hesitant, and more easily embarrassed.

The lefties “rule the roost” on smartness. St. Lawrence University used IQ tests to determine that more lefties have and IQ 140 than righties. One study shows college-educated lefties to be 15 percent to 26 percent richer than righties. The boat had sailed before I got a high IQ or wealth.

Lefties always get a bad reputation historically. Witches used their left hands for casting spells and putting curses on people. The devil might be left-handed, the survey states. Lefties are rebellious. Famous serial killers were lefties, such as The Boston Strangler, Jack the Ripper, and Osama Bin Laden. They might also be devils in that case. Christian churches baptize with the right hand, while devil depictions show the devil to use his left. I speculate that the paintings and drawings showing the devil are shown as lefties only to show them to be opposed to the righties in Christian drawings and religious practices. It could be the good versus bad idea in drawings with righties being good and lefties being bad.

Some theories say that when young babies are placed on their stomachs, they will turn their head right or left in the direction predicting them to be lefties or righties. I don’t know if there are any scientific studies to support this observation or not.

Marriage expert Sheri Stritof explains that wedding grooms stand on the right side of their brides. The story is that years ago, men who were prone to fighting with swords had to protect their brides on their left side while fighting with their right hand. The worry was that brides might be kidnapped during the wedding, so the groom had to be prepared.

Left-handedness is normal. Being a lefty is not a sign of learning disabilities. A person with a learning disability might be left-handed or right-handed, however.

Famous celebrities that are lefties are Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The late Marilyn Monroe and Jimi Hendrix were lefties. Remember Hendrix with a left-handed guitar?

While I am calling names, there have been eight presidents who used the left hand for writing: James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Interestingly, in 1992 all three presidential candidates were lefties: Bush, Clinton and Ross Perot.

Famous baseball lefties are Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Tom Glavine, Babe Ruth and Andy Pettitte.

With me being born a lefty, and possibly you being born to be a righty, we just have to “play the game of life with the players that we have” — that is, unless you are ambidextrous and use either hand equally well. I eat and write with my left hand but throw a ball with my right hand. I can use a hammer or paintbrush with either hand. I can brush my teeth with either hand. Try it.

Too much useless information means it is time to move on. I will write about a lefty using a right-handed camera on another day.