Just before West Chester students returned to school was an international event, Left Hander Appreciation Day, Aug. 13, 2009 marked the 18th anniversary. This day has been created by a Left-Handers club to allow right-handed people to realize the advantages and disadvantages that left-handers face in daily tasks. One way that the left-handers club asks right-handed people to understand the difficulties of left-handers daily use of motor skills is by using objects made for one’s weaker hand. This means that right-handers should try doing everything with their left-hand, including objects such as scissors.
At work offices and schools, supplies for activities and work tasks have been created to be used with one’s right hand as oppose to the left hand. There are several objects that were designed to be comfortable for left-handed people as well, such as scissors, pens, pencils, and notepads. More objects can be found on the Web site www.lefthandersday.com.
Left-handers can go onto company Web sites and suggest a design for objects or certain products to be made to be more comfortable for left-handers to use. With these designs, left-handed workers and students will have to use objects designed to be used with the right hand. The Left-Handers club would like people to realize how hard it is to use products with one’s opposite hand, and how left-handers live in a “right-handed world.”
According to information found on Left-Handers day, the Web site www.lefthandersday.com used Daniel Casasanto’s work on his study of decision making process of left-handers; he is a postdoctoral scholar in psychology at Stanford.
According to the Web site www.anythinglefthanded.co/uk, Casasantos’ work implies that people with different physical characteristics, such as being right- or left-handed, form different abstract concepts, corresponding to those physical traits. For southpaws, the left side of any space has positive moral, intellectual, and emotional connotations; for righties, the right side does. What Casasanto calls “these contrasting mental metaphors” cannot be “attributed to linguistic experience,” he points out, “because idioms in English associate good with right but not with left. But right- and left-handers implicitly associated positive values more strongly with the side of space on which they could act more fluently with their dominant hands.” That influence is stronger than the linguistic cues we get every day about “right-hand man,” “the right side of history,” “out in left field,” or “two left feet.”
Facts about left-handed people are listed on the Web site, www. Lefthandersday.com. A few facts listed include:
*Most left-handers draw figures facing to the right.
*There is a high tendency in twins for one to be left-handed.
*Stuttering and dyslexia occur more often in left-handers, especially if left-handers are forced to change their writing hand as a child; King of England George VI was forced to switch writing hands.
*Left-handers adjust more to seeing underwater.
*Left-handers excel particularly in tennis, baseball, swimming and fencing.
*Left-handers usually reach puberty 4 to 5 months after right-handers.
To show ones appreciation to Left-Handers day, students could try going through a full school day using their opposite hand when opening doors, using scissors, using a mouse at a computer, and all of the tasks that one will face in a day.
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.