Yet another lefty myth

It’s common for right-handers (and even left-handers who are sick of being inconvenienced and desperate for even one crumblike example where we have it easier) to say dumb things like, “XYZ right-handed implement is actually easier for lefties to use!”

They are always and uniformly wrong.

String instruments are commonly subjected to this sort of nonsense — it’s actually easier for a left-hander to play a right-handed violin! Sure it is. I’m sure that righties just invented and have been using an instrument that puts them at a disadvantage for 400 years. If it were an advantage to use the dominant hand for fingering, they’d have been doing it already. So they can shut up about that one. And lefties who were successfully converted through being forced to do it backwards as four year olds can also shut up about it. Just because you were given no choice four decades ago by some idiot right-handed adult doesn’t mean that the rest of us should be subjected to doing things unnaturally.

But another such bit of fluff is often flung at the piano — being a lefty is an advantage because it produces a more balanced performance.

The problem with this is obvious — you aren’t after a balanced performance as a pianist! You want melody to be highlighted over and above the left hand. Why in God’s name do you think right-handers built the damned thing to put the most important part of the music under the control of their stronger hand? After pounding out Joplin and having to ratchet back on my left hand time and again, I have been denting my shins on this for ages — and not only on Joplin. It’s just bluntly obvious in his music.

Stop making comments like this, right-handers and desperate or successfully suborned left-handers. The fact is that with the exception of recuperating from strokes or other neurological insults (not to be sneezed at), being left-handed is a disadvantage in this world.

There is however another advantage that might count for some: left-handers are aware that people who are unlike them exist, and are not often quite so clueless and closed-minded about things because of it.

Update: I forgot about the one thing on Earth that actually is advantageous for left-handers — and it’s not an insignificant thing. The QWERTY keyboard. The thing was built in the days of mechanical typewriters, and the inventor placed the most used keys on the left side deliberately, to slow typists down and keep them from going too fast. Going too fast is meaningless on a modern keyboard, but in the days of old clacketa-clacketa Underwoods, typing fast would make the type arms tangle. Hence, in the days of the old mechanical typewriters, once again being left-handed was a disadvantage, because we would type too fast and have to untangle the type arms. (If you’ve ever used an old-style typewriter, you know what I mean.)

Nowdays, with modern keyboards, lefties finally have an advantage with something! That’s the only device I can think of where being left-handed is advantageous, and it’s only that way because the old mechanical reasons for slowing down the right-handed typist no longer obtain. We backed into that one. 🙂

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