July 31, 2014

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On the Other Hand — Hail to the leftie PDF Print
Saturday, March 29, 2014 8:00 PM

Today’s column is a tribute to southpaws or lefties. My brother is a leftie. (I’ve always thought he was odd but not because of that.)

Representing only 10 percent of the general human population, left-handers have been viewed with suspicion and persecuted across history. The word “sinister” even derives from “left or left-hand.”

Researchers at Northwestern University now report that a high degree of cooperation, not something odd or sinister, plays a key role in the rarity of left-handedness.

Historically, the 90-10 right-handed to left-handed ratio has remained the same for more than 5,000 years.

Cooperation favors same-handedness — for sharing the same tools, for example. Physical competition, on the other hand, favors the unusual. In a fight, a left-hander would have the advantage in a right-handed world.

Here are some of the advantages of being a lefty:

• A great chance of having a high IQ.

• Left-handed men make more money.

• Seeing better under water.

• Better able to multi-task.

• Better memories.

• Recover from stroke faster.

• More successful at learning to drive.

Here are some of the annoyances of being a lefty:

• Spiral notebooks.

• Only one gross lefty glove in gym class.

• Only two pairs of the green lefty scissors in class, three lefty kids.

• Ballpoint pens don’t work as well because you’re pushing, not pulling the ball.

• Ink all over the side of your hand.

• Bonking elbows with a righty at the dinner table.

• Driver’s cup holder is for the right hand.

• Number pad is on the right-hand side of keyboard.

• Manual can openers.


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