Lord, Love a Lefty! Reflections of a Southpaw After National Left-Handers Day

The cultural icon for left-handedness: Ned Flanders of  The Simpsons

God love him, the cultural icon for left-handedness: Ned Flanders of The Simpsons

As a journalist and a publicist at WriteBrain Media, I see the queries from fellow journalists all day long. The hot topic query yesterday was “the Challenge of Living Life as a Southpaw.” Some studies have shown that the 7-10% population of us left-handed people lose up to a decade of our lives due to the stress of being left-handed.

Frankly, it doesn’t compute. I’ve never had a problem cutting with scissors – I just hold them at a weird angle compared to 90% of people. Ain’t no thang. And maybe I take up more of the left margin in my spiral-bound notebooks (those reporter’s notebooks spiral-bound at the top are the bomb!). I don’t write in that hooked fashion, so I don’t experience the pencil carbon smudge on the side of my hand unless I’m doing charcoal sketches. But doesn’t everyone?

Pencil sketch from Cliff Nielsen's art jam. The Brewery, Los Angeles, April 2015.

Pencil sketch from Cliff Nielsen’s art jam. The Brewery, Los Angeles, April 2015.

 

I was raised in a household where my adoptive mother and brother were also lefties, so perhaps that made my life easier. When I finally met my bio-family, I was interested to learn my dad and one brother were left-handed as well (altho’ Catholic school redirected my bio-brother to the Catholic version of political correctness: being right-handed).

From the Middle Ages on down, lefties have always gotten the shaft, but consider this: Call me a conspiracy theory nut, but you know that part in the Bible about Christ being on the right hand of God?

I think it was a typo.

Some right-handed translator got the Aramaic word for “right” mixed up with “left.” This one small typo was perpetuated throughout history, all of the way down to Gutenburg’s Press. This resulted in centuries of left-handed fuckery. Bloodied knuckles being rapped with rulers by Catholic school nuns. Southpaws being tortured and imprisoned for wiping butts with our right hands. It was discrimination of Biblical proportions, literally.

I’d like to think that today, we’re better than this. That there’s no need for social justice, a movement, and a new Twitter hashtag: #Left-HandedLivesMatter. But to know that for certain, does anyone have kids in Catholic school?

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Adventures in the Hospital: Context is…EVERYTHING.

My non-Mormon Sister Wife Ophelia always mentioned “Anime” in our conversations. One day, I could no longer take it, because the context was so odd, it prompted me to finally ask, “What does Japanese animation have to do with your father, anyway?” It was then that I learned her mother’s name was “Anna Mae.” A cacophony of Sister Wife howls of laughter erupted around the breakfast table as the realization slowly sank in. For the last 5 years, I’d been in a perpetual state of confusion whenever she mentioned her mother’s name.

So this story, which happened to me last Friday in the hospital, post-surgery, should come as no surprise to you. (Yes, I am totally fine. Thanks for wondering. The three separate celebratory parties by the Sister Wives were well worth the pain of the surgery!)

As you read this, you must take into context, I am ensconced in the world of comics, illustration, and autograph signings. I can’t even blame the pain killers, because I wasn’t on any.

So…this medical technician was in my hospital room performing an ultrasound on me Friday afternoon. In walked a man dressed like a 1950s Culligan Man with what looked like a Coleman Cooler chest:

The Sharpie Container!

The Sharpie Container!

“Here to get the Sharpies,” he announced, abruptly breaking the silence. He walked over to the area where my dry erase board was, removed something, and briskly exited my room. (This dry erase board is any hospital’s “communication” system, telling you the name & phone # of your nurse, technician, and “hospitalist” on any given shift. I never once glanced at that board, as it was placed well behind my hospital bed’s sight line where I never could see it.)

The typical Sharpie I see on a daily basis.

The typical Sharpie I see everywhere in my house, daily.

So I let this information soak in for a moment, and naturally, my journalist’s curiosity overtook me.

Me to Ultrasound Technician: “So…you have a guy whose job it is to remove the Sharpies? How often does he do that?”

Ultrasound Tech, sounding bored: “Every couple of days.”

Me: “And he has to put them in a special cooler?”

Ultrasound Tech: “Yep.”

Me: “So what kind of qualifications do you need to be a Sharpie removal technician? Perhaps I should apply for one of these easy jobs. Does it pay well? Is there a pension?”

Ultrasound Tech: “Uh, I’m not really sure.”

Me: “So there’s a truck full of Sharpies parked outside of this hospital right now?”

What I imagine a Sharpie delivery truck looks like--a blank canvas, begging to be drawn upon.

What I imagine a Sharpie delivery truck looks like–a blank canvas, begging to be drawn upon by a Sharpie illustrator.

Ultrasound Tech: “Yep.”

Me: “And they change out the Sharpies every couple of days? That seems rather wasteful.”

Ultrasound Tech: “Yep.”

Me: “So where do they take the Sharpies from here?”

Ultrasound Tech: “Well, they’re bio-hazardous material, so they dispose of them in some special way.”

Me: “Hmmm…well, I guess the Sharpies could get coated in the germs floating in the air of a hospital room, but isn’t the ‘bio-hazardous’ characterization a bit overly dramatic? And isn’t it better to use Dry Erase Markers on a Dry Erase board? Do the Sharpies even wipe off as easily?”

Ultrasound Tech: “Wait a minute…you thought I meant…markers…!?? (Starts laughing.) I’m talking about needles and razors. We call them ‘Sharpies.’ ”

Me: “It hurts to laugh. Make it stop!”

Ultrasound Tech: (Laughing uncontrollably).

Dave Dorman in the background: (Shaking his head slowly in disgust, non-plussed by my ridiculousness.)

My world has expanded.