GOOD

11 Struggles That Only Left-Handed People Understand

Being left-handed can be hazardous to your health but it’s great if you’re running for president.

Photo by Joe Loong/Flickr

For the past 42 years, August 13 has been International Left-handers Day. It was first observed by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, Inc., to celebrate their uniqueness and highlight the health and educational issues they face.


It’s also a day to honor left-handed people who overcame their struggles to achieve great things, including: Bill Gates, Marie Curie, Oprah Winfrey, Babe Ruth, Napoleon Bonaparte, Leonardo da Vinci, and Jimi Hendrix. As well as the long list of left-handed presidents that have graced the oval office since the dawn of the 20th century: James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

And, of course, the greatest lefty-rights advocate of our times, Ned Flanders.

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So, to help spread awareness about the unique issues affecting left-handed people, here’s GOOD’s list of the 11 struggles that only left-handed people understand.

1. Scissors

Most left-handed people don’t truly realize they’re different until they reach pre-school and realize it’s impossible to use right-handed scissors. If the teacher doesn’t have a left-handed pair, they’re forced to either cut righty and slash their artwork to bits or turn the scissors upside down and get premature arthritis.

2. Ink

Life is tough for lefties who write in a language that reads left to right. Especially if they’re writing in ink. If a lefty uses a pen with slow-drying ink, they’re bound to smear it with the palm on their left hand.

3. Playing sports

Physical education class can be tough for left-handed people. They better hope their teacher has enough left-handed baseball gloves or they’re stuck on the sideline. Plus, most coaches are righties, so left-handed people have to learn to do everything in reverse.

4. Can openers

If it wasn’t for the advent of left-handed can openers, most of them would have starved.

5. Guitars

For a left-handed person to play a right-handed guitar they have to flip the thing over and then restring it the opposite way. The left-handed god of living in a right-handed world has to be Jimi Hendrix. He became one of the greatest guitar players ever by playing a right-handed guitar upside down.

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6. Cameras

Left-handed photographers and videographers are at a great disadvantage because the shutter button is always on the right-hand side.

7. Lower pay

According to a study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, lefties make about 10 to 12% percent less than righties. Joshua Goodman, an economist at Harvard’s Kennedy School, claims the wage gap is because left-handed people “have more emotional and behavioral problems, have more learning disabilities such as dyslexia, complete less schooling, and work in occupations requiring less cognitive skill.”

8. Poor health

According to ABC, left-handed people are more likely to be schizophrenic, alcoholic, delinquent, dyslexic, and have Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as mental disabilities. This dark fact shows that left-handed people not only have to put up with minor annoyances, but they’re more likely to get a serious illness.

9. Tools

The labels, handles, and switches are always on the right-hand side of any tool or machine. While it seems like a minor nuisance, this puts lefties who use dangerous equipment in peril.

10. Dinner tables

Left-handed people aren’t free to sit wherever they like at the dinner table. They have to find a spot where they’re not bumping elbows with the person sitting next to them. Which means they’re sometimes stuck sitting next to the person no one wants to eat beside.

11. Spiral notebooks

It’s amazing more left-handed people don’t have calluses on the palms of their left hands after rubbing them against the edge of spiral notebooks during school. The only alternative is turning the notebook upside down so the pages look funny or buying an overpriced left-handed notebook.

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