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Alex Beam

A lefthanded compliment for the sinistral set

shutterstock; globe staff photo illustration

Thursday is International Lefthanders Day, “meant to promote awareness of the inconveniences faced by lefthanders in a predominantly righthanded world,” according to Lefthanders International, an affinity group that may or may not exist.

A Lefthanders Day Facebook page asserts that southpaws constitute between seven and 10 percent cent of the world’s population, and complains that “thousands of lefthanded people in today’s society have to adapt to use righthanded tools and objects.”

Boo hoo.

For decades, lefties have lulled us into treating them as victims, and then — poof! — one day we wake up and they are our alien overlords. Parse this: In the past 41 years, only two righthanders have occupied the White House. Or this: The lefthanders ruling your world include Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Bibi Netanyahu, and Fidel Castro.


If Vladimir Putin were lefthanded, that would complete the Left’s sinister plan for world domination. In fact, Putin may be a RINO, Righthander In Name Only. It has not gone unnoticed that he wears his wristwatch on his right hand, a marker trait for southpaws.

Blogger Don Milne calculates that the odds of a lefthander winning the presidency seven times since 1980, as has in fact happened, are ten million to one. But take heart; our long national nightmare of sinistrality is almost over. The odds of a lefty, as opposed to a leftist, winning the 2016 election are very, very slim. Kentucky’s Senator Rand Paul is the only serious candidate who bats from the port side of the plate, and right now he is putting up Jackie Bradley Jr.-like numbers in the polls.

Come on, Alex — not a dram of sympathy for the men and women (your wife among them!) linked to Satanism and worse just because they hold their fork in the wrong – sorry, left – hand? The Bible has had it in for lefties from the get-go, e.g., “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left” (Ecclesiastes 10:2).


For reasons lost in the mist of my successfully repressed childhood, I “write like a lefty,” meaning that I curl my right hand up and over any piece of paper I am scribbling on. I wish I really could write like a lefty, in this case like Lewis Carroll and Bill Bryson, two famous skiffle-handed (derivation unclear) scribblers.

I understand that the world appears reverse-engineered to our cackhanded brethren (“cack” being a Middle English word for “dung”), but they’ve done a fine job of righting their collective ship, or maneuvering themselves back to the right side of history. Oh, heavens — those are just two examples of antileft bias embedded in our language, the kind of unconscious discrimination condemned by right-thinking people everywhere. How gauche of me. I’ll try to make it right.

As I was saying, southpaws have successfully engineered themselves back into mainstream living. Amazon stocks an abundance of must-have items for lefties, including sports equipment, kitchen utensils, and — my favorite — lefthanded mugs that spill coffee into your lap if you hold them with the “wrong” hand. Right on!

Lefthanders are different from you and me, but no one is exactly sure how. Are they smarter? Well, they supposedly demonstrate “extreme intellectual precocity,” and some research suggests they are more likely to be “gifted,” i.e., have IQs over 131. But wait. A widely publicized study by Harvard’s Joshua Goodman reports that lefties perform less well on standardized tests, and earn less in the workplace.


Sounds as if we will need more research to get this right. I mean correct.

Alex Beam’s column appears regularly in the Globe. He can be reached at