I grew up watching Doug, a Nickelodeon cartoon about a boy named ‘Doug,’ who was incredibly imaginative, wrote everything in his journal, and lived as himself. I loved the show, but my little brother was enamored of it. We could never figure out why, because it was just so weird.
Then my father, in a completely unique fit of observation, realized something about Doug. He’s left-handed.
You see, my brother is ambidextrous, which means he is adept at using both of his hands. However adept he may have been, my brother was always more likely to use his left hand for anything that he might need. With only 10% of the population being southpaws, it wasn’t very likely that you would see a lefty cartoon role model on the tv.
Brother didn’t really seem to realize it, but he had honed in on a boy like himself, imaginative and distractable, with a histrionic sister (I’m nothing if not somewhat honest), and who used both of his hands, but wrote and ate with his left.
Doug used whichever hand was more comfortable for him and for the activity. When Doug used his right hand, it was usually during times that he had to interact with righties more directly, such as during sports or games that are usually designed for righties. I’ve observed the same behavior from many other lefties.
For some reason, my family attracts them like none-other. My maternal grandmother is a southpaw; my paternal grandmother was until she was forced to learn to be right-handed. My father’s difficulties with handwriting and thought patterns have often made me wonder if he might’ve been born a leftie as well. I’m right-handed, but I married a southpaw. One of his brother’s is also a leftie, but that brother’s twin is a rightie.
Half of my friends and my mother’s friends are lefties. That is a very unusual occurrence considering the statistics.
The world being built for righties, and the fact that there is still some superstition surrounding the development of left-handed traits, has forced many left-handers to be ambidextrous just to function. My husband writes leftie, directs music leftie, eats, leftie, but often throws right. He bowls ambidextrous unless he’s competing, then he attempts to stick to one hand or the other (most often right if he doesn’t have his own ball, which is designed for a leftie). He shoots paintball rightie, but shoots arrows with his left hand.
I’m in awe of his flexibility with it all. I get frustrated if clothing is designed an inch too short for me, but he and my brother, and my grandmothers, and so many of my friends were born into a world that is designed to work against their natures.
It’s like I have my own personal Quailmen running around.