Stage Left

A U.S. president named Donald? That’s a first.

History records no presidents Donald Washington, Don Lincoln or Donnie Roosevelt.

It is also worth noting that there have also been no presidents with the last names of Sutherland, Rickles or Duck.
Another fact: The first time President Trump signs a piece of legislation, he’ll be the first in eight years to do it right-handed. Not a fascinating fact. Just a fact.

In fact, in a further factual fact, not only is Barack Obama left-handed—but same with Bill Clinton and H.W. Bush before him. Gerald Ford was left-handed too. And perhaps left-footed.

Ronald Reagan was left-handed, but learned to write with his right—as did Harry Truman.
That all seems a bit odd—especially since perhaps only 10 percent of people in this country are left-handed—but more than half of recent presidents have been so.

Maybe it is because left-handers have to persevere more than the rest of us—and it translates into working harder to achieve. Or maybe left-handed presidential candidates put together stronger ad campaigns—who knows?

But history suggests that if many of us—as kids—were told that someday we too could grow up to become president—we should have also been told to point, write, eat, throw, wave and scratch with our left hand.

Somewhere among my childhood stuff lies an old left-hander baseball glove—an Eddie Mathews autographed model—that I wore until I was around five years old. Not just when I played baseball—I mean I wore it all the time. The mitt is shriveled now—the size of a baby mitten—from being in the bathtub so often.

But one day without explanation, parents, teachers and coaches stepped in and changed me over to being a right-hander. One of their intended reasons: To save me from having a higher risk of psychosis. Whew! Without that intervention—instead of writing these words right now—I might be in the basement wiring up a homemade bomb.
Still, that wiring job is easier when you are a right-hander. That’s because everything from tools to musical instruments; cameras to computer trackballs—are all made for people working with their right hands. In fact, my left-handed baby brother got out of cutting the lawn for years claiming we had a right-handed mower.

Perhaps centuries ago—during the birth of fake news—the rumor started going around that left-handedness was caused by some kind of traumatic birth incident. After that, the superstition mill went into high gear:

Evil spirits are often portrayed as being over someone’s left shoulder—thus the practice of throwing salt over that side to ward them off. (When salt is not available, try ground kale. Evil spirits hate that stuff as much as the rest of us.)
If you get out of bed with the left foot, it is going to be a bad day. Especially if the left foot steps directly in something the dog dropped overnight.

If you hear the sound of a cuckoo from your right, it will be a lucky year; from the left side, unlucky. But at least you’ll know your old clock is working.

An itchy right palm means you’re about to receive money; an itchy left means you’re going to spend money—probably on ointment.
Some history books suggest that lefties stood a better chance of being tortured during The Spanish Inquisition—especially the inquisitive.

And modern studies show that left-handers are better at math, architecture and spatial understanding. Right-handers are better at gargling. (This last thing is really more of a personal observation .)
Major league baseball teams will generally tolerate having a left-hander or two on their rosters—but only if the player agrees to be called a ‘southpaw.’ Such players have had names like “Lefty” Gomez, “Lefty” Grove and “Lefty” O’Doul. In a few cases they have also been named “Babe”, “Spaceman” and “Goose.”

There have been no known players named “Righty”—except for a shortstop in the 1930’s—“Far Righty”Jones—who was believed to be a Nazi.

I guess I’ll always wonder if I might have been smarter, richer and more attractive if I had remained a left-hander all those years ago. After all, Einstein, Darwin, Isaac Newton, Oprah, Desmond Tutu and Bill Gates—were or are all left-handers.

However, the Boston Strangler was also left-handed—although most people can agree that the truly top-notch stranglers are usually ambidextrous.

Well, I guess I better wrap this up. It’s dinnertime.

What!? Leftovers again?