If you are a “people watcher” it probably doesn’t take you long to recognize someone who is left-hand dominant. You have observed the frustration on their face when they use a serrated knife; the cut is crooked instead of straight. At a restaurant there is always the game of musical chairs going on; a lefty cannot sit to the right of a right-handed person without bumping elbows. A sure give away if someone is left-handed is when using scissors; they have to turn them upside down. Writing or drawing the old-fashioned way using pen or pencil is another awkward endeavor. To do this without smearing the paper is a true accomplishment. When someone crosses their body with their left hand to turn on the cold-water faucet, you know they are southpaws. Our society makes things for the majority and the majority of people in the world are right-hand dominant.

                Since only about 10 percent of the world’s population is left-handed, you might wonder why we need an International Left-Handers Day. It’s a day to make the other 90 percent aware of the frustrations the other 10 percent face everyday to perform routine tasks. By drawing attention to these inconveniences, hopefully manufacturers will design things for left-handers too. Some companies already have seen the need and are making things specifically for left-hand use. There are several websites where these items can be purchased. If you have a friend, co-worker, or relative that is a lefty, a gift from one of these sites would be an excellent purchase and one you know the recipient will gratefully use.

                When you look at all the items designed for left-handers, if you are right-handed you will realize how frustrating life can be at times for southpaws. There are measuring cups (with the measurements visible when holding it with the left hand), coffee mugs (the design can be seen when holding it in the left hand), manual can openers (needed on camping trips and when the electricity is out), corkscrews (must have for wine drinkers), scissors (every day use),  vegetable peelers, and knives of all sizes and variety of uses. For the little lefty who is just learning to use a fork and spoon, you can get a set specifically designed for them. For left-handed school (including college) age children, you can find a vast assortment of notebooks, scissors, pens, rulers, and a manual pencil sharper (rotates counter-clockwise). There are books for left-handers to learn guitar chords, stitchery, and golf. The technology world has stepped up to the plate and designed a left-handed mouse and keyboard.

                                Southpaws are found in every occupation; politicians, actors, singers, business magnets, and sports. Do you recognize the names Bill Gates, Ronald Reagan, Judy Garland, Tom Cruise, George H. W. Bush, Paul McCartney, Barack Obama, Dorothy Hamill, Whoopie Goldberg, Lisa Kudrow, Mark Spitz, Oprah Winfrey, Luke Perry, Time Allen, Caroline Kennedy, Carol Burnett, Goldie Hawn, and Angelina Jolie? All of them are left-hand dominant (and this is a short list).  Not a bad group of people to have something in common with if you are left-handed.

                On August 13, if you are right-handed why not try doing the things mentioned in the first paragraph with your left hand. It would be a fun exercise and a way to learn how the other side of the brain works!




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