On Being Left-Handed

You’ve probably heard that left-handed people die young and are accident prone. They might be geniuses like Einstein, a U.S. president (8 out of 44 of them have been, which is 20%), or the next Oprah. 

Mostly though, left-handed people just want to open cans, cut paper, and use a measuring cup without turning the handle around three times. They want to be able to write in ink or pencil without permanently staining their pinkies. About 90% of you are reading this and going, “Huh?” and the rest of you are nodding your head in agreement.

Here’s a list of items that are a PIA if you’re a leftie.

1) Scissors: Lefties generally do one of two things- either they invest in a good pair of left-handed scissors and treat them as a prized possession, or they teach themselves how to cut right-handed. Years of teaching preschool (lots of cutting) trained me to use right-handed scissors, but it took years. Ever wonder what the big deal is? The answer is in the blades. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.

2) Can Openers: Manual can openers are designed for your left hand to grip and your right hand to turn the key. Sounds easy, right? It really isn’t if your turning the key with your weaker hand.

This watch is available from

3) Watches: Wait a minute! Watches? Really? Really. Analog watches are designed for right handed people to wear on their left wrist. The knob to wind or change the hands is located on the right, which makes it easy to reach. As a leftie, I like to wear a watch on my right hand. And turning the knob while wearing a watch is impossible.

4) Sports Equipment: Baseball gloves and golf clubs need to be left-handed to even attempt to play. I still have my softball mitt from junior high because should I ever find myself in a pick-up game of catch, chances are I’ll be the only lefty playing.

5) Printed Items: Pencils, mugs and liquid measuring cups are all printed with a right-handed person in mind. Don’t believe me? Spin your mug around and hold it in your left hand. Can you see the picture? Pick up that promotional pen or pencil on your desk. Hold it in your left hand. The writing is now upside down. It’s not a functional problem, it’s just annoying.

Are you left-handed? What bugs you? What have you adapted?


15 replies on “On Being Left-Handed”

Hi another non-functioning lefty here. Just kidding, I can sort of function right-handed, but only enough to be dangerous.

I doodle on my class notes a lot, so I’m usually just covered in ink. I fancy myself some sort of artist, though so I guess I’m okay with it…

But the can opener thing! UGH TERRIBLE. I tend to just buy cans of soup with the pull-tab things. I’m also convinced that pickle/jelly jars were created as a conspiracy by the Patriarchy, because my hands are too small to get them open– I always have to ask my dad. Pickles single-handedly make men necessary in a woman’s life! Though thinking about it now, it could just be that they are made/threaded “right handed” and that’s why my parents can open them and I can’t.

Also  using scissors with my right hand (because the lefty scissors were always crappy) was always very painful. Though things like that, in retrospect, seem like evidence of my dyspraxia (which combined with my left-handed-ness makes me a huge klutz, and not in the Zooey Deschannel/The New Girl way either. I just break EVERYTHING).

Also: another thing. When my mom and I are cooking together, we constantly move the sauce pan back and forth, so that it’s comfortable to use.

Slanted spatulas! Craft instructions for things like knitting, crochet or knot-tying. Measuring cups drive me crazy, but we have gotten a few of the funky angles cups that you can read from the top down and those are ambidextrous. Certain iPhone apps are harder to use with your left hand. LOTS of power tools are subtly right-handed.

Oh, and the do-it-yourself credit/debit machines at cash registers! Half the places I shop have then butted up to something on their left side so I have to contort  my wrist or elbow to get in there and sign my name.

That is so cool!

Electronics are the one thing I have never had a problem with. I guess it’s because I never had the option of using them left-handed, so I just learned how to deal with what was there. I have actually tried using a left-handed mouse and it’s too weird, I am more comfortable mousing with my right hand.

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