Monday, March 02, 2009


When I was a kid, [and by “kid” I mean as far back as my memory can go] I was terrified about the fact that I would have to learn how to write.
See – I’m a southpaw.
Can’t write a darned thing with my right hand. You should see how utterly useless I am when I try to write something as a northpaw!
And I’ve always been that way. It wasn’t something I PLANNED!
Maybe my mother slept on her left side a lot, when she was gestating me, I don’t know! All I know is that I am a certifiable southpaw.
But I had this crazy uncle.
Uncle Bill.
And he would come over to our house and try to force me to write stuff with my right hand.
I thought he was Satan.
I would cry and cry and cry – I could not understand why it was so important to him that I abandon my natural southpawed-ness. He literally tried to alter me.
When I went to school in Grade One [I did not go to pre-school or kindergarten], again, my teacher Mrs. Oystrick I began to imagine that she was the wife of Satan!
She too, discouraged my left-handedness. I cried, and cried. I was in agony.
However, my teachers [and other people] began to ease up on me when they realized that I had a natural aptitude for reading and writing. I developed fairly neat handwriting – the only downside being that as a southpaw, when you write in a notebook, the fresh ink gets on the heel of the hand. If heel is the word. But you know what I mean?

By Grade Two I was known as the Library’s most avid reader. My penmanship was impeccable. In a parent teacher interview, my Grade Two teacher, Mrs. Okrainetz [she had one of those B’52’s hairdos, you know? A la Rock Lobster era? That's her in the above photo, hovering in the background, and I am seated on the floor, third from the LEFT!]… oh yeah! Mrs. Okrainetz [you go girl]… total closet-punker – she said to my mom, “There is no way that your son has read all of the books he claims to have read, it is impossible!”
My mom told me about this, and I cried.
So I promptly concluded that Mrs. Okrainetz was the grandmother of Satan!

Anyhoo… all of this to say, listen folks. Ease up on us southpaws, OK?
It is not some sort of sign of retardation or whatever.
Lettuce use our left hands for God’s sake!
I mean, look at me?
I'm an incorrigible southpaw!
And I turned out to be a frigging genius!



Merisi said...

let 'em right, on any which paw they want to, pawn it! ;-)

Re Colm Tóibín:
Of course I have read "The Master" -
and all his other books. Only the short story collection "Mother and Sons" has still the one or other story waiting. He is one hot writer!

Merisi said...

Let them "right",
yeah. *giggle*

Beth said...

Yes, I know what you mean by the heel of your hand. I’ve always been fascinated watching the curved hand of my youngest son as he writes.
And you certainly showed Satan and his family! (By turning into a genius – or something...)

Melwyk said...

Ah, I was turned by Satan. I was left handed until I went to school, now I am just all messed up! You are not only a genius, you have enormous strength of character to resist all the rightist propaganda! (and what is it with teachers not believing kids can read? I had my grade 3 librarian accuse me of lying!)

Anonymous said...

My sister began life left-handed and our mom forced her to use her right hand. Now she can't use her left hand to do anything. I tell my sister that being forced to be right handed could explain why she is so messed up ;) I am right handed but prefer to do some things with my left which makes people confused but for some reason I find their confusion very funny.

JoanneMarie Faust said...

Most parents tried to turn their lefties into righties. My mother swore that every time she got me to use my right hand the phone would ring and by the time she got done talking I was using the left again.

I think it gives us a lot of advantages. I do almost everything with either hand. I don't know any righties who can say that.

I say Viva la lefties!!!!