If you are right-handed, then you probably didn’t even spare a thought for the everyday issues that left-handers face – and that’s where Left Handers’ Day comes in. Every year on the 13th of August, left handed people share their experiences of living in a world designed for right handers.
International Left Handers’ Day was first launched in 1992 by the Left Handers’ Club. The idea was to highlight to the world how the everyday lives of 10% of the global population are impacted by their handedness. From simple things such as bank pens being tied to right-hand side or corkscrews having clockwise threads to more complex issues such as purchasing a guitar or finding suitable golf clubs. This may alarm you, but being a lefty is much more complicated than you might have imagined.
For us right-handers, it’s a day to show solidarity with our lefty comrades. To show empathy and join them in their quest to pressure manufacturers, designers and architects to make the world a more comfortable place for left-handers. It’s a day to show that left-handers that we care and are not just subjects of a novelty fascination.
So, remember, there’s no need to get excited and scream “OMG! You’re left-handed!” when you notice someone is left-handed – they already know. But, there’s no harm in understanding and being sympathetic to the issues they might face.
Some of the most famous people in the world have been left-handed including Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein and even Chewbacca from Star Wars. In the world of music, left-handers are often at a disadvantage when it comes to just picking up and playing an instrument. Yet, that didn’t stop the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, David Bowie and Kurt Cobain from becoming masters of their art. Likewise, some of the greatest sports stars of all time including Diego Maradona, Pele, John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova were all lefties.
Left-handers also played a crucial role in the first moon landing in 1969 with two of the three astronauts on board (Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins) both left-handed. Neil Armstrong was the only right-hander to make the trip. During this era, one in four astronauts were lefties compared to one in ten in everyday life.
That’s why we should all get behind left-handers on the 13th of August. To celebrate those who still thrive in a world where everything is back to front. Where even a simple pair of scissors do not cut properly or a ring binder gets in the way of note-taking. And, when you do takes notes, you get ink or pencil marks on your hands. When you measure with a tape, all the numbers are upside down and when you attend a university lecture, the seats all have a little desk fixed on the right-hand side.
The truth is that despite all the obstacles facing them, lefties don’t get left behind. They battle against the odds and even face discrimination, but they get through life without a fuss. Some even embrace their left-handedness like a superpower that sets them apart. Maybe there is some truth in the idea that lefties have to be smarter just to get by!