Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Must Ask . . . Right or Left?

Curiosity is only vanity. Most frequently we wish not to know, but to talk. We would not take a sea voyage for the sole pleasure of seeing without hope of ever telling. –Blaise Pascal, Pensées

I like to know about the people around me. I like to contrast and compare and celebrate differences and build on similarities. So I've decided to post a poll asking a different question every week because I'm curious like that. I Must Ask . . . is my new Thursday feature. Stop by every week for a new poll in the sidebar {make sure to vote even if you don't leave a comment!} and post about that question. The question I must ask today is: Are you left-handed, right-handed, cross-dominant or ambidextrous?

So, which is it? Righty? Lefty? Both? I'm right-handed. About 90% of the world is right-handed. Scientists have determined that genes influence which is your dominant hand. In my family, my dad's mom was a lefty. It was interesting to watch how she curved her hand around to write, almost like she was writing upside down. My brother is left-handed, and his three year old kind of favors her left hand too.

With so many righties in the world, how do all you lefties get along? In the old days, teachers used to force lefties to learn to write with their right hands because being left-handed was wrong. Though we know that's not true, there is still a tendency to make lefties fit into a right-handed world. Scissors. Spiral notebooks. Computer mice. Credit card machines. Can openers. Cameras. They're all geared for righties. When my brother wanted to buy a left-handed bass guitar, he had to special order it because none of the music shops carried them and the sales clerks told him he'd be just fine using a regular guitar.

Southpaws do have the advantage on the playing field. Basketball players who dribble with their left and come in for a basket on the left, opposite of most of the other players, have the element of surprise on their side. Baseball players who bat left-handed are a few steps closer to first base. And because they are on the other side of the plate, they force the pitcher to throw differently than he normally would. Baseball great, Babe Ruth was a lefty. In tennis, being left handed comes in handy {pun totally intended}, as John McEnroe proved during his impressive career, with 1 French Open, 3 Wimbledon and 4 US Open wins and the World No. 1 professional tennis player title under his belt. And being left-handed didn't seem to hinder Albert Einstein or Bill Gates, either. Bart Simpson, however, does not make a great case for the lefties of the world :lol:.

Living in the world we do, lefties have had to learn to also use their right hands. So does that make them ambidextrous? Not really. People who favor one hand for certain tasks like writing and personal care, but use the other for most other tasks are called cross-dominant. Baseball player, Pete Rose, who had more hits than anyone else in Major League Baseball, was a switch-hitter, choosing to bat from whichever side was most advantageous to him at the time. NBA player Kobe Bryant is cross-dominant. Historical figures, Benjamin Franklin and Ludwig Van Beethoven and actors Mark Hamill, Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey and personal favorite Hugh Jackman are cross-dominant.

A truly ambidextrous person, someone who has an indifferent preference for either hand and is able to perform a task equally well with either hand, is rare. Only 1 out of 100 people is ambidextrous. Actors James Woods and Topher Grace are said to be ambidextrous, as is tennis player Maria Sharapova. It is rumored that US President James Garfield used to impress people by writing in Greek with one hand and Latin with the other . . . at the same time.

You must be wondering if I really want to know which hand you use? Yes I do {so make sure to vote in the poll in the sidebar}! I've always found it interesting, I suppose, because of the people in my family who are left-handed. And if I know which hand you use, when I have you over for dinner I'll make sure to save a seat for you at the left corner of the table so you're not bumping elbows with your neighbor.

17 comments:

Rhonda said...

I'm a righty, as our sons #2 and 3. hubby is ambidextrous(right handed mainly but left eye dominant. does most things with either hand). sons #1 and 4 are lefties

Shay said...

I'm a righty ..Mr. P is a lefty as are his father and brother. Interestingly Mr. P's father is not his biological one and his brother is a half brother so genetically there was no higher statistical probability that there would be so many left handed people in his family than any other family!

Impera_Magna said...

I am right hand dominant but also have pretty decent left hand control. I am able to write left-handed and imagine more practice would enable me to so smoothly.

My brother was left-handed and was forced to use his right hand when he went to school... they thought doing so would "fix" the left-hand dominance... and he ended up ambidextrous.

The rest of the sibs are right-handed as were my parents.

Barb said...

Right handed, I have two sons that are left handed.

Stray Stitches said...

I am definitely right handed. The only thing I do left handed is shoot pool - lol!

P. said...

A righty here, too. There are no lefties in my extended family, but I sometimes wonder if my hubby would have been a lefty if left to his own preference. You should see him use the Pampered Chef can opener: Squeezes it in his left hand and turns the crank counter-clockwise with his right...then complains how it doesn't seem to work correctly. I've tried to explain the proper method so many times, but I give up. Then again, that could be the dyslexia.

Anyway, interesting feature!

P. said...

Re the can opener story, I got it backwards. Squeezes with right and turns clockwise with the left. It's pretty confusing to watch it used backwards. See? This is the kind of thing that boggled me with paper piecing! :)

SueWis said...

I am right-handed, in fact my left hand is super uncoordinated. I am always afraid to use my left hand to throw in the toll money!

quiltfool said...

Always sitting in the right spot at table can be a pain for us lefty's. Thanks for thinking of us. Lane

JazznJenna said...

Righty, here. Lefties run in my hubby's family though, including him. I love watching them write. I can't really do ANYTHING left handed! Is there a word for people who are 100% anti-ambidextrous? Oh wait, I hold my babies better on my left hip than on my right (so I can use my right hand, of course)...but still...

Anonymous said...

I'm a righty. I did try and teach a lefty how to knit - which meant that I had to teach myself to knit left-handed. It wasn't easy and I don't think that I could do it again. Thanks for asking.
cindy

Iris said...

As my young one says "I'm this handed" *holds up right hand*. As far as I know there are no lefties in my nor my husband's family.

I had a crush on a leftie for 3 years in HS. ;)

clare's craftroom said...

I voted with my right hand , lol !

thesewinggeek said...

My parents were right handed. My brother and sister are left handed. I am right handed. My husband is right handed but bats and golfs left. My oldest is left handed, very much so. My other two are right.
My husband does have a brother who is left handed.
Interesting question.

Jill said...

I am a righty, and so are my 2 boys. But my hubby is cross-dominant. He eats right-handed, writes left-handed. I'm trying to remember which hand he uses when he shaves, though.

Jae Originals said...

I am a lefty as is my brother and sister. Parents and two brothers are right handed. I had the best 1st grade teacher who was also left handed. She taught me how to write without curling my hand over the top of the paper and no smearing as you write. Lots of gold stars for me that year! I was so thankful for left handed scissors when they became affordable - no more pain in cutting out patterns!

Quiet Quilter said...

I am right handed...my small claim to fame is that I can write mirror image words...that is, from left to right so that you can read it in a mirror...