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Thread: The advantages of being left-handed

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    The advantages of being left-handed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    But, since more screws are driven than are ever removed (it would be remarkable if the reverse were true), the threading favours the right-handed, who use their more powerful movement (supination) for the more commonly performed action.
    Yes, absolutely true. You have helped to renew my feelings of victimization.

    Seriously, though, as a lefty I have always understood that there are inconveniences, but on the other hand I have always liked the feeling of being different from the majority. As a a white male, itís sort of the one thing that allows me to claim I am not completely mainstream.
    I thought I'd reply to this on a new thread, rather than derail the derailment of the original thread.

    Because the world is so rightist in its construction, left-handers are generally more useful with their right hands than right-handers are with their left. (I have the impression some right-handers have only ever used their left hand as a paperweight.) As a lefty, I occasionally used to be called by colleagues to insert a left internal jugular line, a procedure that was both rarely performed and awkward for right-handers in the days before ultrasound guidance. Whereas I was performing the standard, mirror-image procedure on the right internal jugular on an almost daily basis.
    My uncle was a left-hander who was forced to use his right hand at school, rendering him ambidextrous. As a cabinet-maker, that came in very useful. He also played the fiddle, and his (literal) party-piece used to be to play a jig on the fiddle in the conventional manner, then invert the fiddle, move it to the opposite shoulder, and play the same tune, with the fingering and bowing reversed.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Another Lefty here, I heard that we're right in the head........just a matter of opinion I suppose......

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    I used to say that if I ever broke my right arm I'd starve to death. Then I did break it. I survived, but it wasn't easy.

    One thing that's made me more ambidextrous has been mousing left-handed for the past 15 or 20 years. I started doing that because of carpal tunnel syndrome in the right.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    What advice have thee for me for my granddaughter (2.25 year-old). She seems to be a lefty. She's also bright and loves learning from certain shows. [I know far too much about Bubble Guppies, which I had never heard about, than I should. Their graphics are great but their physics, like Einstein once thought of Lemaitre's work, is abominable.]

    I was showing her how to use her fingers to hold a mech. pencil and, suddenly, she switched to her right hand and seemed to do almost as well. I'm guessing it would be wise to encourage her to use both at this age, right?
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    Iím not ambidextrous by any means...that is, Iím not completely comfortable using either hand for just about anything...but I am somewhat adept at many things on the southpaw side. When I shave with a straight razor, I switch hands to get a better angle on certain parts of my face. My left hand also gets a dexterity workout when Iím 3D modeling since I have a 3-axis Ďtop hatí controller at my left hand in addition to the CAD mouse at my right. I also switch to a left hand dominate grip on chisels and planes in some woodworking situations.
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    Whenever I see a Muggle trying to open a jar, I take it and open it with ease, while chanting:

    Lefties are good at unscrewing things that other people screw up!

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    What advice have thee for me for my granddaughter (2.25 year-old). She seems to be a lefty.
    Have her take up fencing!

    She'll have a clear advantage over her opponents, who only rarely encounter lefties.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Have her take up fencing!

    She'll have a clear advantage over her opponents, who only rarely encounter lefties.
    Unless she meets the Man in Black. Or Inigio Montoya.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Have her take up fencing!

    She'll have a clear advantage over her opponents, who only rarely encounter lefties.
    Actually, I did that, in university. And actually later, I had a kind of surprise. I once visited a club in Japan, and I noticed that a disproportionate number of the fencers were lefties. So I asked one of them, and she said that actually she was right-handed but had trained herself to fence left-handed.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    What advice have thee for me for my granddaughter (2.25 year-old).
    Learn to sit on one of the left corner seat at tables? But of course, she'll learn that naturally!
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I thought I'd reply to this on a new thread, rather than derail the derailment of the original thread.

    Because the world is so rightist in its construction, left-handers are generally more useful with their right hands than right-handers are with their left.
    This is probably just some outdated "knowledge", but I remember reading somewhere that handedness is more left a bell curve, but shifted to the right, so that the majority of lefties are toward the middle whereas many more of the righties are to strongly right-handed. And just another annoying piece of discrimination. Why does my spell-checker insist that "righty" is wrong but "lefty" is OK?
    As above, so below

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    When I was a kid, schools had only just stopped forcing children to use their right hands, and teachers had very little experience of lefties. So when we were given cheap plastic scissors with which to cut some paper shapes, I mashed and tore the paper and no-one understood my problem
    When I got home and reported this disaster, my father spent a few minutes trying to cut paper with the tips of scissors held in his left hand, and figured out the problem. I needed to cock my thumb towards the back of my hand so as to hold the scissor blades together, rather than push them apart. Sorted.

    Flash forward 15 years, and I'm a medical student assisting at my first abdominal surgical procedure. I have to hold a retractor in my right hand, and therefore cut stitches with my left (a very common situation). The theatre nurse slaps the scissors into my left hand and starts to say, "You'll need to ..."
    And I snip the stiches.
    "Oh," she says. "You're left-handed. That's going to save a lot of time."

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    This is probably just some outdated "knowledge", but I remember reading somewhere that handedness is more left a bell curve, but shifted to the right, so that the majority of lefties are toward the middle whereas many more of the righties are to strongly right-handed.
    I wonder about Nature versus Nurture on that one. The world is so accommodated to right-handed people, that there is less pressure on right-handers to use the left hand than on left-handers to use the right hand. (Right hands up, any right-handers who ever noticed that breast pockets on shirts, hip pockets on trousers, fastenings on trouser flies and openings in Y-front underwear were all designed for right-handers.)

    When I turned twenty, one of my friends gave me a left-handed can opener as a birthday present. For forty years, that's been the only can-opener in our house. (There's no great advantage one way or the other, and my right-handed wife seems to have rarely used a can opener before we were married, so never really noticed the difference.)
    But when my mother was in her late eighties she came over to visit and insisted on helping in the kitchen while I cooked dinner.
    "What can I do?" she asked.
    "Could you open those cans of kidney beans and drain them?"
    Sure, she could do that. She rummaged in the kitchen drawer for a while, and then went silent. I turned around to see her holding up our can opener, looking baffled and pale and a little frightened.
    "It's a left-handed can opener, Mum."
    "Oh, thank god," sbe said. "I thought I'd had a stroke."

    I'd never thought about that before, but it must be a pretty disturbing experience to hold a very familiar-looking object, of a kind you've used hundreds of times before, but which nevertheless seems oddly unworkable.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I am right-handed, but the valves on my horn are left-handed. That must be a holdover from the ancestral waldhorn, which has no valves and requires the player to control the pitch by placing the right hand in the bell by varying amounts. We still use the right hand in the bell to make a mellower sound or to do special effects. Fingering with my left hand never was a problem for me, and it should be noted that fingering a violin is also done with the left hand. Good bowing requires great skill with the right hand. I don't know whether or not lefties have more difficulty than righties with the bow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    I am right-handed, but the valves on my horn are left-handed. That must be a holdover from the ancestral waldhorn, which has no valves and requires the player to control the pitch by placing the right hand in the bell by varying amounts. We still use the right hand in the bell to make a mellower sound or to do special effects. Fingering with my left hand never was a problem for me, and it should be noted that fingering a violin is also done with the left hand. Good bowing requires great skill with the right hand. I don't know whether or not lefties have more difficulty than righties with the bow.
    I played one of those in my school days and had totally forgotten that!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    My son is ambidextrous but does have preferences to which hand he uses for certain tasks. For example in sports he tends to favour his left hand, but in art and similar activities where finesse is required he uses his right hand. But then he favours his right leg in football (soccer) though can use both with similar ease.
    I'm very right side dominant with my upper body, completely useless with my left arm, hand and even my left eye is not as good as my right. But my lower body is quite equal in that I can use both legs quite proficiently with equal skill, though I do favour my right, probably because I can sync that better with my right upper much easier.

    @Treb, i also changed my mouse over to my left side, mainly because its so useless it then leaves my right hand free to multi task. (it also, I think encourages me to try and train my left hand to be better).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    Fingering with my left hand never was a problem for me, and it should be noted that fingering a violin is also done with the left hand. Good bowing requires great skill with the right hand. I don't know whether or not lefties have more difficulty than righties with the bow.
    It's an interesting issue with instruments where you use both hands. There are well-known left-handed rock guitarists who play left-handed, like Jimmy Hendrix and Paul McCartney, but there are also famous left-handed guitarists who play right-handed (Robert Fripp or Steve Morse for example). Though I'm left-handed I play guitar right-handed, and I think it might give me a small advantage in the hand that works the frets, and a little weakness in the picking, but so much of it is really just practice that I'm not sure it makes that much of a difference.

    Incidentally, though I do virtually everything that requires one hand left-handed, there are two-handed activities that I do "right-handed," like batting and (though I hardly ever do it) golf. And I can use scissors with both hands, though honestly it's not that difficult an activity. I've tried using chopsticks and writing with my right hand, and it's totally hopeless.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    It's an interesting issue with instruments where you use both hands. There are well-known left-handed rock guitarists who play left-handed, like Jimmy Hendrix and Paul McCartney, but there are also famous left-handed guitarists who play right-handed (Robert Fripp or Steve Morse for example). Though I'm left-handed I play guitar right-handed, and I think it might give me a small advantage in the hand that works the frets, and a little weakness in the picking, but so much of it is really just practice that I'm not sure it makes that much of a difference.

    Incidentally, though I do virtually everything that requires one hand left-handed, there are two-handed activities that I do "right-handed," like batting and (though I hardly ever do it) golf. And I can use scissors with both hands, though honestly it's not that difficult an activity. I've tried using chopsticks and writing with my right hand, and it's totally hopeless.
    I'm very right side dominant,

    I play the keyboard, I find playing the melody with my right hand quite easy but still even to this day struggle to time the chords with my left hand. I've been playing regularly for over 40 years and no matter how much practice I do I still have limitations with my left hand timing.

    I also play golf right handed, though some would argue that right handed golfers actually play left handed since you lead with your left side as a right handed player! I play at quite a decent amateur level, but I do often find that my right side tends to take over and I end up throwing the club with my right hand or worse my whole right side takes over and I get the dreaded "over the top move" which causes problems in the swing. Again I've been playing golf regularly for the best part of 30 years and still struggle with leading the swing with my left hand. I've tried switching to playing "left handed" so my right hand leads, but I find it extremely awkward and can't get my body to sync at all. My good friend who is a teaching golf pro can play both right and left handed with ease.
    Last edited by cosmocrazy; 2019-Sep-13 at 07:59 AM.

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    My father was left handed but none of his three sons are left handed in most situations, although one of my brothers uses cricket bats and golf clubs left handed. But all of us seem more comfortable doing activities on our left side than most right handed people.

    My son had to undertake physical therapy when he was about 6 or 7 to develop a dominant hand as he was having troubles with his schooling - this was nearly 35 years ago so I can't remember the specific problems he was experiencing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    (Right hands up, any right-handers who ever noticed that breast pockets on shirts, hip pockets on trousers, fastenings on trouser flies and openings in Y-front underwear were all designed for right-handers.)
    You forgot buttons on shirts. EDIT: Buttons on men's shirts. The buttons on women's blouses actually favor lefties.

    That being said, I checked when I went upstairs to bed last night, and I don't appear to own a single pair of pants on which the left and right hip pockets are different. I know there are pants that only have a right-hand hip pocket (and probably some that only have a button on the right pocket), but my personal experience is that that's not the norm - at least not around here.
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    Due to general unavailability of ergonomous joysticks for left-handed people -and ditto computer mice-, I learned to use the mouse and joysticks right handed. Up to the point where on simulator flight, I was top 1% in handling ability. And then ESA came and claimed left-handed people are not allowed into the astronaut corps because they wouldn't be able to control the right-handed joystick equipment. I should have called Lionel Hutz over that one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    You forgot buttons on shirts. EDIT: Buttons on men's shirts. The buttons on women's blouses actually favor lefties.
    I didn't really forget shirt-buttons - I just don't think they particularly favour one handedness over another, and the fact that women's buttons traditionally fasten the other way from men's tends to support that.

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    That being said, I checked when I went upstairs to bed last night, and I don't appear to own a single pair of pants on which the left and right hip pockets are different. I know there are pants that only have a right-hand hip pocket (and probably some that only have a button on the right pocket), but my personal experience is that that's not the norm - at least not around here.
    Interesting. I haven't owned a pair of trousers with two hip pockets for twenty years, since I gave up wearing jeans.
    I'm wearing a pair at the moment which has a large thigh pocket for a phone on the left side. I was surprised by this, until I realized I was taking my phone out with my left hand, and then passing it to my right hand so that I could use my left hand on the screen. So again the design produces a slight increased convenience for a right-hander, who has the phone ready to go on removing it from the pocket. (And, of course, the important buttons are down the right edge of the phone.)
    I once owned a left-handed shooting jacket, which I found in a charity shop, but I think that's the only clothing item I've worn that was tailored with a lefty in mind. (Left-handed shotguns are moderately easy to find, though, presumably because of safety concerns.)

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    This is probably just some outdated "knowledge", but I remember reading somewhere that handedness is more left a bell curve, but shifted to the right, so that the majority of lefties are toward the middle whereas many more of the righties are to strongly right-handed. And just another annoying piece of discrimination. Why does my spell-checker insist that "righty" is wrong but "lefty" is OK?
    Perhaps they favor baseball. A "lefty" is special since most pitchers are right-handed. Or perhaps "righty" may sound a little too "correcty".
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I didn't really forget shirt-buttons - I just don't think they particularly favour one handedness over another, and the fact that women's buttons traditionally fasten the other way from men's tends to support that.

    Interesting. I haven't owned a pair of trousers with two hip pockets for twenty years, since I gave up wearing jeans.
    I'm wearing a pair at the moment which has a large thigh pocket for a phone on the left side. I was surprised by this, until I realized I was taking my phone out with my left hand, and then passing it to my right hand so that I could use my left hand on the screen. So again the design produces a slight increased convenience for a right-hander, who has the phone ready to go on removing it from the pocket. (And, of course, the important buttons are down the right edge of the phone.)
    I once owned a left-handed shooting jacket, which I found in a charity shop, but I think that's the only clothing item I've worn that was tailored with a lefty in mind. (Left-handed shotguns are moderately easy to find, though, presumably because of safety concerns.)

    Grant Hutchison
    My phone goes in my left front pocket, upside down. Then when it comes out it naturally turns upright and remains held in the left while I manipulate the buttons or whatever with the right.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I didn't really forget shirt-buttons - I just don't think they particularly favour one handedness over another, and the fact that women's buttons traditionally fasten the other way from men's tends to support that.
    I've read speculation that it's a holdover from the days of ladies' maids, but there's only speculation on why there is a difference there.

    Both my father's parents were lefthanded. In the days where they'd literally try to beat it out of you with a ruler. They succeeded with my grandfather to the extent that he could no longer really use his left hand for most things as an adult. They never succeeded with my grandmother. Then both my sisters are lefthanded, perhaps as Grandma's ultimate revenge.
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    I remember reading in a sports article long ago that left-handed bowlers have an advantage.

    In a tournament, most of the rolls are by right-handers, and they follow a predictable path as the bowler aims for the "pocket." This results in the varnish finish wearing down on that side of the alley, whereas the opposite side stays shiny. I guess that side is less prone to deflecting the ball's path, and thus more consistent.

    I never heard that point raised again, however, so it may be just someone's wild theory.

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    The way I heard it was that the wearing down of the varnish causes the ball to hook more which the bowlers like, so left-handers are at a disadvantage because it takes longer for them to wear it down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    He also played the fiddle, and his (literal) party-piece used to be to play a jig on the fiddle in the conventional manner, then invert the fiddle, move it to the opposite shoulder, and play the same tune, with the fingering and bowing reversed.
    That's an impressive trick. But I think it would have been funnier if he had learned to play it backwards after switching hands.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    I am right-handed, but the valves on my horn are left-handed. That must be a holdover from the ancestral waldhorn...
    I got this far thinking you had some sort of hereditary cardio defect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    That's an impressive trick. But I think it would have been funnier if he had learned to play it backwards after switching hands.
    Like ol' Victor!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKeqaDSjy98

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