Daily TWiP Archives

Something interesting has happened on (just about) every day of the year, and Daily TWiP provides the proof. An offshoot of my local events column The Week in Preview (affectionately known as TWiP), Daily TWiP was published April 2008-Aug. 2011 and is still giving readers reasons to celebrate.

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Daily TWiP – Aug. 13: International Left-Handers’ Day

Today (Aug. 13), we would like to remind you that there are two ways to do things – not a right way and a wrong way, but a right way and a left way. On International Left-Handers’ Day, we celebrate those who determinedly fumble their way through a world in which nothing is where it should be.

Approximately seven to ten percent of the population is left-handed, with more left-handed men than women. Younger people are more likely to be left-handed than their older counterparts, as left-handedness was strongly discouraged in schools up until a few decades ago, a combination of the tendency of lefties to smudge their writing and a misplaced cultural belief that left-handedness was evil.

In Western culture, this belief has been traced back to ancient Mesopotamia, where the hand was considered a symbol of power. The left hand was associated with the power to shame society and represented misfortune, divine punishment and natural evil, associations which later carried over into modern Judeo-Christian culture.

Granted, there are several notorious left-handed criminals, (Billy the Kid, Jack the Ripper, John Dillinger, and the Boston Strangler all come to mind), but there are far more right-handed criminals than left-handed ones. Given how many lefties there are in the world, if it was true that all left-handed individuals are evil and villainous, the term “prison overcrowding” would never have found its way into our vocabulary.

Other famous lefties include Napoleon Bonaparte (and his wife, Josephine), Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Ramses II, Aristotle, Prince William, Benjamin Franklin, Norman Schwarzkopf, Mahatma Gandhi, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Joan of Arc and M.C. Escher.

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, is also left-handed. So lefties, you may have a tough time finding a pair of scissors you can use, but when it comes to Jedi lightsabers, you’d be right (or left) at home.

For more information on International Left-Handers’ Day, visit www.lefthandersday.com.

– Teresa Santoski


Originally published Aug. 13, 2009.

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