You don’t get to choose between being left- and right-handed, but those who fall into the first category get to celebrate their genetic predisposition every year. Aug. 13 is recognized as International Left-Handers Day, which gives left-handed individuals – often called southpaws – the opportunity to share their trait with the world and raise awareness of the struggles that can come with being left-handed in a right-handed world.
This year marks the 21st annual celebration, which was started in 1992 by the Left Handers Club. In honor of left-handed people everywhere, why not try using your left hand to hold your e-cigarette for the day?
Try switching sides
Live Science reported that southpaws account for only about 10 percent of the world’s population, and while things like using a pencil, picking up a fork, swinging a baseball bat or grasping an e-cigarette may be easy no matter which is your predominant hand, other activities might not come as easily. If you’re a rightie, try to walk a mile in a left-handed person’s shoes. Pick up your fork or try to write a note with your left hand. Is it hard? You bet! To someone who is predisposed to use their left hand, these tasks are as easy for them as they are for you when you use your right hand. So it’s really no big deal which hand you use, right? Well, not exactly. Many common household objects – scissors, can openers and even cooking utensils like spatulas – are all designed for right-handed use, leaving southpaws to adapt or find special tools made to be used by the left hand.
One way for righties to show solidarity and respect for lefties is to switch hands for a few tasks on the holiday. You can hold your e-cig in your left hand and switch the mouse to the opposite side of your computer. When you catch yourself using your right hand for a task, stop and switch.
The good, the bad and the lefties
Studies have shown that there are differences between right- and left-handers, as lefties tend to use more of their right brain while righties are predominantly left-brained. According to LiveScience, the right brain focuses on spatial relationships, so southpaws often excel in things like math, art and music, while they may come up a bit short in terms of hearing and speaking, which are controlled more by the left side of the brain. Men are more likely to be left-handed than women, but being a leftie may also put individuals at higher risk for developing certain neurological health problems like Down’s syndrome, autism and dyslexia.
Despite some of the setbacks that may accompany being left-handed, many southpaws have gone on to accomplish great things. In fact, President Barack Obama is a member of this community, as are former U.S. leaders Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr., Gerald Ford, James Garfield and Harry S. Truman, according to The Huffington Post. Other famed lefties include Oprah Winfrey, Howie Mandel, Bill Gates, Sylvester Stallone, Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Jimi Hendrix, Marylin Monroe, Marie Curie and Aristotle. Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick are both left-handers, and of course, who can forget the iconic character from “The Simpsons,” Ned Flanders, who opens his very own store for lefties – “The Leftorium.”
Many well-known athletes also play for the left-handed team, such as Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Ken Griffey Jr., Larry Bird, Oscar de la Hoya, Arnold Palmer, Dorothy Hamill and even Babe Ruth.