It would be easy for me to blame all my problems on being left-handed. When I research left-handed traits, I find a list of horrible random facts about southpaws: a mark of the devil, a sign of neurosis, high tendencies to criminality and even the possibility of dying nine years earlier than my right-handed sisters and brother.

The word “left” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “lyft,” meaning “broken.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines “left” as meaning “crippled,” “defective,” “clumsy” and “inapt.” Where there is difference, there is judgment. Right equals good. Left equals bad. To top it off, I have red hair – another mark of the devil.

My research also tells me that we are angrier than our right-handed friends. Running into the wrong side of a locked double door once or twice a day is mood-altering, I admit.

Lefties always notice other lefties, and when we do we say, “Of course.” Barack Obama; Lady Gaga; Bill Gates; Julius Caesar; Jennifer Lawrence; Whoopi Goldberg; Richard Pryor; David Letterman; Kristen Wiig (unconfirmed, but hopeful); Leonardo da Vinci (wrote right to left to avoid smudging); Charlie Chaplin; Jon Stewart; Jimi Hendrix (played his guitar upside-down and backward); Diane Keaton; Shirley MacLaine; Julia Roberts; Jerry Seinfeld; Emma Thompson, and Oprah were or are all lefties.

Left-handed people make up 10 percent of the population. Have you ever met a minority that doesn’t make up 10 percent of the population?

I don’t ever remember my parents telling me that I was special or different or flawed because I was left-handed or had red hair. Perhaps they were trying to avoid a difficult response from a tiny she-devil with violent tendencies.


They never tried to switch me from being a lefty to a righty, and I don’t remember any special purchases or adjustments to sports equipment or everyday things like scissors. I just bumbled along with my left-handed developmental error while people told me that I had pretty hair.

I do remember the night I realized that being left-handed presented a disadvantage. Our childhood home was large enough to include a small apartment that my parents rented out to help pay bills. One particular tenant would make her way downstairs after dinner to play cards.

Sitting next to me, she noticed that the numbers and suits of my individual cards were hidden. As a left-hander, I fanned my cards to the left, hiding all the numbers and suits. In order to see my hand, I had to fold back each card. Until that moment, I thought this was normal.

The point is, I never thought about being left-handed. I just made blind adjustments to my everyday moves. My dad, Barney, the only other lefty in my immediate family, continues to make blind adjustments in a right-handed world and is convinced that he is superior in every way because of it. I have him to thank for my arrogance in the face of the majority.

The Internet lists many connections between being left-handed and being dyslexic (a tough word for a dyslexic) but no connections between left-handedness and malapropism – so I will.

About a year ago, I started writing a blog. The other day, my dad told me that he liked my “blob.” One definition of blob is: “something ill-defined or amorphous.” One definition of amorphous is: “lacking organization or unity,” e.g., an amorphous style of writing. That would be a blob.


“Thank you for liking my blob,” I responded.

At a family outing to a restaurant, my mom whispered, “Watch, your dad and I will order the same thing.” When they both ordered steak, my father confirmed, “We always order the same thing – we’re psycho.”

Yogi Berra, the most famous malaprop and a lefty, said it best, “Ninety percent of this game is half mental.” The remaining 10 percent must be for the lefties.

To Yogi, a man of great statue, and to my father, who turns 80 today … I say, “Molotov!”

Jolene McGowan lives and works in Portland with her husband, daughter and dog and has no plans to leave, ever. She can be contacted at:

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.