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Lefties face right-hand world

“If the left side of your brain controls the right side of your body and the right side of your brain controls the left side of your body, then left-handed people must be the only ones in their right minds,” W.C. Fields said. However, only 15% of American citizens are “in their right mind.”

Even though this statistic is true for the United States, about half the school drama class is left-handed. Adviser Tom McEntee, who happens to be left-handed, finds comfort in the fact that he is not alone.

“Close to one half of the kids in my drama classes are lefties or ambidextrous,” McEntee said. “I think we have some creative left-handed people.”

The word left is derived from the Latin root sinister meaning “clumsy or foolish.” The meaning of this root has been a catalyst for ridicule among classmates.

Stowe Empereur, ’11, drama participant and left-handed pitcher for the JV baseball team, receives ridicule about his dexterity.

“I get dissed a lot; people call me a mutant freak,” Empereur said, “but left-handed people are smarter. The majority of our presidents were left-handed. Using a different side of your brain opens up varying perspectives on situations. Lefties are more creative too.”

Many cultures do not accept left-handed people because they think being left-handed is an insult to their society, however, lefties have the advantage in some situations.

“Being a left-handed pitcher has many advantages,” Empereur said. “The ball comes from a different angle which throws the batter off. And it is a lot easier to pickoff base runners. Instead of having to turn around to throw, we just throw straight to the base.”

Many lefties have to adapt to America’s right-handed society in sports, accessories, or articles of clothing. Jason Herron, ’09, yearbook staff member, alters his way of life to America?s right-handed society.

“I have had to adjust to playing sports, using scissors and using a computer mouse the way right-handed people do, usually due to lack of equipment,” Herron said. “I also wear my class ring and watch on my right arm, instead of my left like everyone else.”

In many circumstances, lefties buy merchandise specially made for them, but other times, left-handed people have to learn how to use right-handed products. C.J. Haydock, multi-media teacher, overcame his left-handed lifestyle by changing the way he wrote.

“Being left-handed is the worst thing in the world,” Haydock said. “I’m traumatized from being left-handed. When I was in school, I used to write with the binding on the right because the rings of my binder or notebook would get in the way when I would write.”

For many left-handers, problems arise in school as well as daily life. Herron encounters dilemmas almost every day.

“It is hard to sit in the middle of a table or next to right-handed people, because we always end up bumping elbows,” Herron said. “In algebra II, I almost always bump elbows with Michelle (Rose, ’08) and then we both have to erase our work and start over.”

In addition to difficulties sitting at a table, lefties encounter problems outside of school. According to Stanley Coren in The Left-hander Syndrome, left-handed drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents. Their natural instinct when hit is to intuitively veer into the middle of an intersection of oncoming traffic.

“I have gotten in one car accident since I have started driving but it had nothing to do with me being left-handed,” Matt Andreatta, ’09, said. “A one-ton truck hit me from behind but I was able to stop before I hit the car in front of me.”

For most lefties their lifestyle is difficult to overcome, but others find ways to bring out the benefits of the situation.

“It can be freeing to be left-handed,” Herron said. “I sometimes tend to receive special attention and can do things right-handed people cannot.”

For more information on lefties look out for the next podcast segment of Claire?s Corner, featuring senior Claire Kister, and for a comical insight on left-handedness, pick up James T. DeKay’s book, The Natural Superiority of the Left-Hander.

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