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Posts Tagged ‘sinister’

I am right-handed, and I live in a right-handed world.

It’s the hand with which most of us write. It’s the hand we use to salute, take an oath, and offer in greeting. It’s the side on which we seat our most trusted allies. It’s the hand we deem dexterous, while the left hand we label sinister.

It’s not surprising that our left hands get short shrift. We right-handers often think of them as the clumsy, oafish sibling to our dominant hand. We use these “lesser” appendages to write joking notes in a purposefully childlike script, and to deliver less-than-flattering compliments.

I do not look at my left hand this way.

My left hand is pretty damned amazing. It’s stronger than my right. It can hold something rock-steady while my right hand tinkers away for hours. Having been a musician, I can tell you that my left hand has just as much dexterity as does my right, perhaps more. Oh, sure, my right hand is quite adept at making squiggly lines on a sheet of paper, but can it play Beethoven or manage the tricky fingerings of a Hindemith sonata? On a keyboard (piano or computer), they each match the other for adroitness.

When I’m working a project, which hand always gets injured? Not the left hand, despite being the one (literally) doing the heavy lifting. (Exception to this rule: when cooking, the left is always the injured party, but that’s only because the right hand is the one holding the knife.)

While my left hand cannot throw worth a damn, it can catch like a boss; throw me a baseball, a Frisbee, an apple, or a set of car keys, and my right hand will fumble it, bobble it, mistime the grip, while my left hand will bring it home every time.

My left hand is my support, my brace, my counter-balance. It is the lifter of sacks and the grabber of railings. It is dependable, fearless, powerful, perseverant, uncomplaining. Above all, it is modest, content to let its partner take the glory; it seeks neither praise nor the limelight.

So, let us raise a glass with and to our non-dominant hands. Let us recognize that it is the disparity between right and left that creates their synergistic whole, a partnership that has conquered the world. Let us admit that our non-dominant hands are as important, in their way, as their mirror images.

It is their differences that make them strong.

As with many things.

k

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