Southpaw Applause

We do plenty of things without giving them much thought: writing, cutting paper, using a computer mouse, opening a can. But the “we” does not necessarily include lefties. “Yes, the world is designed for right-handed people,” says Greenbrae orthopedic hand surgeon David Nelson. “Even our language reflects this: sinister has the left hand as its root, and dexterous has the right hand as its root.” So on August 13 in 1992, International Left-Handers Day started as a way to bring attention to the issues that about 10 percent of the world’s population faces every day, as well as to celebrate this unique disparity. Although being left-handed poses challenges, it also has a number of perks. Research shows lefties are better at divergent thinking and that the majority of them are drawn to careers in art and music — like this magazine’s very own art director. The pluses don’t stop there, either. “Right-handed people are 10–15 percent (physically) stronger on the dominant side, but left-handers are equal,” says Nelson. On August 13, right-handers are encouraged to do everything with their left hand — prepare for ink smears.