Life of a Lefty

The left-handed minority is often at a disadvantage

What do Barack Obama, Tom Cruise and I all have in common? We are all left handed. One in ten people in the world are left handed. Ten percent is a sizable chunk of the population, you would think. While not as extreme as in years past, today’s society suppresses the use of the left hand.

Our society and culture has evolved to be accustomed to the use of the right hand. Writing is for righties, while a lefty drags their hand across the lead or ink. Note taking is for righties; a lefty is left with odd marks on their forearm. Binders have the same affect. Driving is made for righties; a lefty learns to get really good at shifting gears with the non-dominant hand. Even classrooms are made for right handed people. Lefty desks are almost impossible to find and it becomes even more of a problem when there are two lefties in the class. Lefties live in a world where righties are given every advantage.

Throughout my life, I’ve had to deal with all of these problems and many more. I’ve been gawked at when people realize I’m left handed. In sports, I’ve always had to learn things by myself, without example.

While most would see this as a natural disadvantage, lefties do hold the upper hand in some aspects. Mensa, the largest IQ society in the world, says that 20 percent of their members are lefties, 10 percent higher than the global average. This suggests that lefties may be, on average, smarter than righties. Lefties spend their entire lives learning how to do things right handed, then adapting this to fit their left handed needs. They learn how to do things backwards. This also allows lefties to become more ambidextrous. says that lefties are better athletes, artists, multitaskers, video game players, drivers, faster thinkers and they process information quicker. On top of this, August 13 is a designated holiday for lefties.

A favorite interaction of mine is when someone walks up behind me while writing and yells “Oh my gosh! You’re left handed? That’s so weird!” This is followed by a series of questions about my parents’ dexterity, if I’ve always been left handed and if writing long essays leaves a lot of lead on my hand. They always conclude by saying they have a left handed friend or family member and how they have tried to write with their left hand before, but it felt weird.

“Did you know lefties die ten years sooner than righties?” This phrase is one of the worst things a lefty could hear from a righty. If you have a left handed friend, do them a favor, and stop saying this.

If you’re one of the left handed few, and you find yourself being berated by your righty counterparts, don’t hesitate to tell them that thanks to the right side of the brain controlling the left side of the body, lefties are the only ones in their right mind.