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July 27, 2008 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Any tricks for enhancing a left-handed life?

I am very left-handed, and have developed a few tweaks to make my life easier, e.g.: I have a left-handed mouse; I use a wire bound notebook from back to front and write mainly on the left page; I always sit on the left side of a crowded table to avoid knocking elbows.

I would love to know other ways (lefthacks?) to improve my ability to interact with the world as a left-hander.

Any recommendations?
posted by suki to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Visit the Leftorium. Funny thing is, I'm left-handed too, but I can't really think of anything that I have a real problem with. I guess the only thing that comes to mind is trying to sit at the left side of the dinner table so my fork skills don't clash with the right-handed people.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 12:44 PM on July 27, 2008

I really wish someone would make a left-handed camera.
posted by melodykramer at 12:48 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

melodykramer: they do! the important work (ie, the lens stuff) is all done with the left hand anyway. Same with guitars: they're already left-hand friendly.
posted by bonaldi at 12:56 PM on July 27, 2008

definitely get one of these
posted by stubby phillips at 1:19 PM on July 27, 2008

1. Learn how to pitch.
2. Join a local softball / baseball league.
3. Kick ass at it.

(Seriously, lots of lefty guys make their living thanks to their ability to throw a ball from an opposite angle.)
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:20 PM on July 27, 2008

Don't let another day go by without a Left-Hand beer
posted by grateful at 1:35 PM on July 27, 2008

Learn to write upside-down. This way, you write right-to-left and don't smudge your hand.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:40 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

In the vein of allkindsoftime's suggestion, from personal experience:

Take a beginner's fencing class. You will have a big advantage against the other students; it's a fun ego boost.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:44 PM on July 27, 2008

Best answer: what i learned from leonardo:
1) take 5 minutes and learn to write backwards. you smudge less and Righty can't read what you're writing.
2) try to be patient. it will take about 500 years before Righty starts to understand what you're talking about

what i didn't learn from michaelangelo or bill gates:
1) learn to communicate with Righty and you can be rich and famous.

what i learned from my mom:
1) use a felt-tip pen rather than a ballpoint. ballpoints jam and skip more for lefties because we push the pen rather than dragging it. i prefer the pilot razor point.
2) use a clear ruler or sheet of paper to rest your hand on while you're writing so that you smear less.

what i learned from einstein:
1) even if they make you switch to righty as a child, you're still a lefty inside

what i learned from osama bin laden:
1) just because you're a lefty, it doesn't necessarily mean you're not a dickhead. use your powers for good, not evil.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:47 PM on July 27, 2008 [9 favorites]

Its only scissors for me. I've adapted for everything else. But I occasionally force righties to use my scissors just so they can understand the pain
posted by handybitesize at 2:11 PM on July 27, 2008

1) take 5 minutes and learn to write backwards. you smudge less and Righty can't read what you're writing.

I just tried this and wow, I can actually write backwards without even trying. That's brilliant!
posted by katrielalex at 2:13 PM on July 27, 2008

Being left-handed puts you at a SERIOUS advantage in playing basketball. 99% of people do not know how to cover someone going left. Additionally, you'll throw off a lot of shot-blockers by laying it in with your left. Finally, I find being a lefty gives me an advantage in trying to block others' shots. I'm just sayin'.
posted by neilkod at 6:27 PM on July 27, 2008

I made my life easier by accepting that it's better to learn to use right-handed scissors and can-openers. Same goes for mousing.

I agree that ballpoints suck. Most rollerballs have fast-enough drying ink for my purposes. I never learned how to do any kind of wacky contortions for writing. The only one I developed was to slant my cursive writing correctly, but the only thing I still write that way is my signature.

Rarely do I think it's some kind of problem/challenge to be a lefty in a right-handed world, unless I want to crack jokes about being an "oppressed minority".
posted by O9scar at 6:50 PM on July 27, 2008

Am I one of the only lefties who writes from a "normal" position? (I.e., the heel of my hand rests below where I'm writing on the page, and my fingers hold the pen straight, pointing up to where I'm writing. It looks just like someone writing right-handed, except that I'm using my left hand. There doesn't seem to be anything especially complicated about it, but I'm 42 now, and it occurs to me that I don't think I've ever noticed another lefty writing that way.)

Anyway, that notwithstanding, notebook spines definitely still present an issue. I've taken to two different approaches:
1) I buy normal notebooks, but write primarily on the left-hand page. I use the RHS pages for random notes, jottings, quick phone numbers, etc.
2) I've taken to buying the Moleskine notepads that are actually hinged on the _top_, kind of like big versions of the little notebooks that TV cops are always pulling out and flipping open. When you use it vertically, there's no spine to get in the way, either way, and if I need "landscape", then I flip it sideways and, again, use the LH pages.

Beyond that, I haven't found the need to make an awful lot of concessions to left-handedness. (I'm actually right-handed for most sports, like throwing a ball or a frisbee--maybe that has something to do with how I write--so I've never had to deal with left-handed baseball mitts or hockey sticks.) Scissors have actually been the most consistent pain in the neck...good "neutral-handed" ones are fine, but those orange-handled ones with the hard molded grips are a _nightmare_.
posted by LairBob at 7:34 PM on July 27, 2008

LairBob, you're not the only one. I write the way you describe, and feel a little flustered whenever people say "wow, you don't curl your arm around like lefties do!" I've actually never seen someone who did write with their arm curled around their writing, now that I think about it...
posted by whatzit at 8:32 PM on July 27, 2008

LairBob: No, I am left-handed and write with basically the same grip as a right-hander.

If you're into woodworking at all, there are saws configured for left-handed people that you should consider.

Also, I mouse with my right hand. It leaves my left hand free for note-taking or keyboard-shortcutting, and it doesn't put me at a disadvantage when at someone else's desk.
posted by cabingirl at 8:39 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Operating a mouse is a job for the dumb right hand, using a touch pad is for the smart left hand. I write normally as well and have adopted the same strategy for using notebooks; LHS for formal notes and RHS for random things.

If you like baseball or softball and you're not a pitcher, the other really good position on the field is first base. You're able to reach out to catch the ball as opposed to righties, who have to reach across their body. Gives you that fraction of a second advantage in a close play.

Scissors are probably the only daily irritant, that and having to reverse placesettings all the time.
posted by michswiss at 9:57 PM on July 27, 2008

I would LOVE it if Windows would let you put scroll bars and the minimize/maximize and close icons in Office programs on the left. Really.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:47 AM on July 28, 2008

I'm left-handed and had never considered switching knife and fork positions. Shurely it makes no difference which is in which hand?
posted by Cantdosleepy at 6:34 AM on July 28, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! I tried writing backwards yesterday - it's surprisingly easy. And it looks really cool.

Time to do some shopping and drink some left handed beer.
posted by suki at 11:28 AM on July 28, 2008

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