Today is a day that celebrates a very special group of people. It is International Lefthanders Day!
Lefties have undoubtedly contributed a lot to society. The scene that is probably the most famous in cinematography actually has to do with not being left-handed. That scene is, of course, from The Princess Bride.
We lefties have it tougher than most people realize, but rather than focusing on the negative, I want to focus on all the great things there are about us Southpaws!
- Lefties are better at seeing underwater than our right handed friends (so we can see fish in all their glory a little bit faster!).
- Lefties can multitask better than righties.
- The origins of the term “southpaw” to describe lefties are slightly muddled, but they definitely have to do with baseball. The earliest use of the term relating to baseball “appeared in the New York Atlas in 1858, but in reference to a left-handed first baseman, not a pitcher. Boston Globe baseball writer and former ballplayer Tim Murnane also recalled in a 1908 edition of Arizona’s Bisbee Daily Review that a St. Louis newspaper had called him a ‘southpaw’ in 1875 because he was a left-handed batter. Murnane adopted the term in describing pitchers ‘simply because they were left-handed, and not because they pitched the ball towards the sunny south on certain grounds.’”
- Famous lefties include Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Albert Einstein, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Henry Ford and Pelé.
- The traditional left-right political dichotomy originates in France’s revolutionary parliament, where the more liberal members sat to the left of the presiding officers and the more conservative ones sat to the right.
- Lefties only make up 10% of the world’s population, and this has been consistent over thousands of years.
- The myth that all polar bears are left-handed is just that: a myth.
- Throughout history, lefties were considered to be inferior, and some even linked being left-handed to witchcraft!
- There is a Left-Handers Lament, that seems to be the unofficial theme song of Lefthanders Day.
- No matter what language you look at, the word for left has some pretty negative connotations. “During the Middle Ages, left-handed writers were thought to be possessed by the Devil, generating the modern sense of the word sinister from sinistra, the Latin word for left. The English word left itself comes from the Old English lyft, meaning idle, weak, or useless. The French word for left, gauche, also means clumsy or awkward.”
- If you really want to show your left-handed pride, you can visit a place called Left Hand in West Virginia! Despite what the name suggests, it was actually named after the Lefthand Run creek that runs close to it.
- President James Garfield was known to entertain his guests by writing in Greek with his left hand and Latin with his right…at the same time!
- Herbert Hoover was the first president who was described as being left-handed. Remember that it wasn’t too long ago where lefties were forced to become right handed in their childhood. This happened to Harry Truman, among countless others.
- Despite its rarity in the population, a disproportionate number of presidents have been left handed, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford (who was ambidextrous), and maybe Ronald Reagan (although this is disputed)!
- Being left-handed can make things difficult, but there are stores that are dedicated solely to left-handed supplies, although these are known to cost a lot more.
- Buzzfeed has a list (sort of like this one!) that chronicles difficulties that only lefties are known face.
- In The Simpsons episode, “When Flanders Failed,” Ned Flanders opens up a store called the Leftorium, dedicated to every left-handed need out there.
And there you have it! Some fun facts that you can impress all of your left-handed friends with. Cheers, and celebrate with a mug that only lefties can use!