According to various sources, about 10% of the global population is left-handed. Today (Aug. 13) is International left-handers Day. A day of remembrance and for raising awareness for those of us afflicted with the curse of not being able to open a tin of beans without dislocating a shoulder or using a scissors without stabbing yourself.
These are just two of the many lethal downsides to being left-handed or citeog as we say in Ireland.
Lefties have been stigmatised since the beginning of time. Coren Stanley author of The Left-Hander Syndrome, wrote – “The right hand is mentioned positively 100 times in the Bible, while the left hand is mentioned only 25 times, all negatively.” I also discovered the word sinister comes from the Latin word sinestra, which originally meant “left” but took on meanings of “evil” or “unlucky” and you were usually regarded as the bastard spawn of Satan.
Latin was also the lingo of Irish priests who happened to find themselves in charge of the Irish school system, they took it upon themselves to beat the left-handed shite out of anyone that happened to be born that way. The usual method for making you conform to the right-handed ways of the world in Irish schools was to tie your left hand behind your back, make you scribble the two times tables and the manic-depressive musings of Peig Sayers over and over with your right hand. If that didn’t make you right-handed, you got an exorcism and a few wild beatings. Not confined to Ireland, American President Ronald Regan was left-handed but was forced to use his right hand in school.
The only way you could escape an exorcism, wild beating and being treated like its your fault Jesus died on the cross, was if you were a talented hurler with potential to get on the county team. Hurling coaches love a good left wing forward. Life for a lefty in Ireland up to the 1970’s was tough going. It gets worse though.
According to the venerable Wall Street Journal – although only about 10% of the population are left handed, we compose 20% of all schizophrenics. Being left-handed is also associated with ADD, depression and a whole host of mental illnesses. Researchers have suggested, lefties are more prone to neuroticism, allergies, insomnia, learning disorders, migraines, autism and disorders of the immune system. We also have higher rates of alcoholism and smoking. I check most of those boxes so it must be legit. In fairness though, if you grew being up being unable to use everyday household utensils and were told you were an evil bastard for being left-handed, then the chances are – you’d be pretty messed up once you reached adulthood. It gets even worse though.
Sit down, say a tearful farewell to family and loved ones, have a chat with some legal types and make out a will. If you are left-handed, the chances are, you are going to die earlier than our right-handed counterparts. On average about nine years earlier than right handed folk. According to this research, scientists found that we probably die younger because of the institutional bias of right-handed society. Basically that means because everything in society is right hand orientated, machines, cars and just about everything else, being a leftie will lead to a premature date with death. No point taking confession or trying to pray your way out of the situation, because as you can see the church thinks we are evil doers bound for Hell anyway.
There you have it, society hates us and we are probably going to die a slow painful death. Sure that’d be enough to drive anyone to the drink and antidepressants.
But there is some good news.
Mullingar has a left handed festival that takes place between the 9th and 13th of August as part of The Gathering initiative. The festival hosts a range of events and will include a competition to find the left-handed champion of Ireland and a signing of the convention for left-handed people. The bad news is, it ends today.
If you are left-handed, According to research done at St. Lawrence University in New York, there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. You may be a depressed alcoholic but at least you will be intelligent enough to realise why.
If you play golf, cricket, baseball, tennis or are a boxer, research suggests that you have an advantage over other people in sport. Ask any Hurling coach about the hardship of trying to get a decent left-wing forward and he tell will ya.
According to research published in the American Journal of Psychology, there is evidence that left-handed people have the upper hand in creativity – we’re better at divergent thinking, a method of idea generation that explores many possible solutions. Basically we excel at problem solving. 25% of all the apollo astronauts were left-handed, as was, Leonardo Da Vinci, Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Isaac Newton to name a few brilliant thinkers.
Lefties are also said to be better looking, more intelligent and fantastic lovers. (I may have made some of those up). So I am calling for an end to harassment of lefties in this right-handed world. We have the loathsome burden of being good-looking, intelligent, manic-depressive alcoholics, who will die tragically young.
Some famous Irish lefties….
Barack Obama – sure isn’t he from Offaly.
Ronald Reagan – former President of the USA with Tipperary roots.
Joe Biden – Vice President of the USA who’s ancestors hail from Mayo.
Pierce Brosnan – Actor.
Bertie Ahern – Politician.
Brian Cowen – Politician.
Henry Ford – Inventor.
Liam Brady – pundit and soccer ball player.
Samuel Beckett – writer.
Bob Geldof – do good type.
Gary Moore – musician.