Friday, February 20, 2009

On Being Left-Handed

Jeremy Clarkson, who declares his love of cars (but actually likes diesel - the most foul smelling an asthma inducing odor in the world) on a BBC program pontificates about us lefties:

Quite rightly, it is no longer acceptable to mock people for being black, homosexual, ginger, deformed or Irish, so let us start this morning by mocking Gerald Ford, George Bush Sr, Bill Clinton, Ross Perot, Al Gore, Obama Barrack and John McCain. People, in other words, who are all left-handed.

At present, this terrible condition affects around 11% of the world’s population and yet in certain fields the number is high enough to raise statistical eyebrows. Quite apart from American politics, there is tennis, which is dominated by lefties. McEnroe, Connors, Rusedski, Ivanisevic and that Spanish ape whose name I’ve forgotten all hold their bats with the wrong hand.

What’s more, if you give birth to a leftie, there is a good chance he’ll go into space. One in four Apollo astronauts were left-hand-drive. But conversely, things are not so rosy if he wishes to become a top-flight racing driver. All the big stars in recent years have been normal, apart from Gerhard Berger. He’ll also struggle to be a writer because his handwriting will be all smudged.

We can see from all this that left-handed people are different to you and me. In short, they are what science calls “weirdos”.

History is less kind. The word “sinister” is actually derived from the Latin sinister, meaning left. Gauche is left. Maladroit is left. Derek Hatton is left. All the things you don’t want to be are left. Left has come to mean bad, clumsy, difficult or awkward. And it's easy to see why this happened.

It is, for example, very difficult for a left-handed person to operate a camera or be a woman. Almost all are men and that’s sinister for sure. What’s more, a left-handed person can adjust more easily to seeing underwater than a right-hooker. There’s only one conclusion to be drawn from this — their eyes are not human. Furthermore, they grow more pubic hair more quickly than a normal person, and this would imply that they may be wolves, or bears.

Certainly, we can deduce from this that it’s not only the wiring of their arms that is the wrong way round. Their whole body is an electrical mess. I’m surprised they don’t sneeze every time they get an erection. Certainly, they have a greater tendency to stutter. And many are slovenly time-keepers.

(Actually, I made that last bit up simply to annoy the producer of Top Gear who is a) left-handed; b) three hours away from where he’s supposed to be at any given moment of the day; and c) like all left-handed people, absolutely convinced that he is in some way “special”.)

People from other minorities never try to claim they are better than the majority. You never get gingers going around saying that because of Simon Heffer and Nicholas Witchell, people with orange hair are cleverer than average. Nor do you get homosexuals pointing at Oscar Wilde with a smug look on their faces. They just want to be seen as “the same” as everyone else.

But people who need upside-down hands to write their signature on a cheque spend a huge amount of time and effort forming clubs designed to prove that because Leonardo da Vinci was left-hand-drive, they are superior beings.

In this respect, they are a bit like the freemasons or Mensa, that magnificently strange organisation for people who think they're special because they can put some shapes in the right hole while playing chess.

Mind you, left-hookers are worse. They lobby the makers of household appliances to consider their plight when designing computers, cookers and power tools. They even complain about sinks, and I’m sorry, but I fail to see how something that is perfectly symmetrical can possibly favour right-handed people. Maybe they are saying the plughole isn’t big enough to handle all their pubic hair.

Back to reality. I'm now worried about my pubic hair.

Here endeth today's lesson.