Left is right on Tuesday

My brother Tim was born a southpaw. A teacher tried to fix him.

”There is nothing wrong with my boy,” Mom said, trying to set the teacher right about left.

I wanted to offer another opinion, but Mom didn’t seem to be in the mood.

Be that as it may, Tuesday is the 23rd annual international Left-Handers Day, a celebration for the lefties of the land. Statistics show that 10 to 12 percent of the world population is left-handed, so it’s going to be a big party. Remember to pass the cake to the left.

I am a righty myself, but left-handedness swims deep in the family gene pools. Dad and Tim both are left-handed, so in our little family unit, the odds of odd-handed members settled at 33 percent. It ran as high as 50 percent for a while until sibs Dan and Martha were born and tipped the scales to the right.

Our extended families are lousy with lefties. If you need one, we have plenty in stock. I wish one of them could have thrown a hard slider, sharp-breaking curve and a smokin’ fastball so I’d have had tickets to a lot more Major League baseball games.

I learned a lot about lefties growing up with so many fumbling with right-handed scissors. For one, seating order matters around the dining table. Secondly, left elbows are sharp critters when seating isn’t set up right.

In junior high Latin class, I discovered the Latin word for ”left” is ”sinistra.” Sinistra is the root for the English word ”sinister.”

”That,” my Latin instructor said, ”is because in the ancient world, left-handed people were thought to be evil.”

A left-handed compliment isn’t saying much. A guy who’s way out in left field isn’t the person you seek for sage advice. And what would you rather say about yourself that you’ll be right out or left out?

We describe political parties as being on the left or right. But the leaders on the left or right can be either left or right.

Count Republican George H.W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama among the lefties. Ronald Reagan, the great right hope, rode the fence. He reportedly was born a southpaw, learned to sign documents with his right hand, but carried his gun on his left hip in his cowboy movies.

Being left in a right-handed world has its problems.

There are the ink stains on the hand and smudged letters on the paper when they write with a pen, not to mention the pain inflicted by rings and wires of spiral notebooks. Oh, and southpaws have to push ballpoint pens, not pull them like they were designed.

School desks, cupholders, short chains on bank pens, measuring cups with metric measures on the back side, and most everything else were designed for the right. And southies seem to have shorter lifespans.

On the other hand, the left one, left-handers tend to be more intelligent and creative than we righties, and they tend to be a lot better than we are in music, math and athletics.

So go ahead, if you’re a southpaw, please raise your left hand. Tuesday is your day. Stand up and cheer. Out of the left side of your mouth, of course.

But on Wednesday, please get back to your side of the table. I don’t mind rubbing elbows figuratively with lefties, but the literal left stuff hurts.

—- Find the righty at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.