Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Living Right

So, I have a confession to make. This may be hard for some of you to hear; but try to remain open to my message. With the help of Jesus Christ, and the support of good, loving people...

I am no longer living the life of a left-handed person.

Let me share a bit of my painful history with you. As a child I started showing signs of my left-handedness almost immediately. My parents tried to ignore it, hoping I'd grow out of it, and maybe I would have. But then my kindergarden teacher turned out to be part of the Gauche Conspiracy. She made the life sound so glamorous, so exciting. She singled me out for attention, giving me my own special pair of scissors. She told me there was nothing wrong with this life, that it was just as beautiful and fulfilling as the life of a right-hander. She failed to mention the increased risk of allergies, insomnia or migraines. She didn't mention that I was three times more likely to become an alcoholic. She left out the fact that the Bible mentions the word 'right' in favorable terms over one hundred times, and the word 'left' unfavorably twenty-five times. She never mentioned that thousands of lefties were burned as witches in the 1600s. She neglected to tell me that the Catholic Church identified lefties as servants of the Devil well into the 1930's. They stopped forcing lefties to switch hands in Catholic schools at that point, and the Church has been in trouble ever since. No, she told me being lefty was natural, and okay with God and society. I wasn't hurting anyone, so what was the problem?

So I wallowed in my deviant lifestyle, spiraling out of control. I celebrated my sinister ways. I became an activist. I was loud, I marched, I lobbied, I made a stink, I challenged the stereotypes. No one told me all the facts. When they'd mention famous lefties, they'd always bring up Albert Einstein, but no one ever mentioned Jack the Ripper. They'd crow about Michelangelo and Da Vinci, but stayed mum about George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. They'd point out that a higher percentage of geniuses were lefties, but they'd neglect to mention the same was true of the mentally retarded.

Gradually though, I began to see that my life wasn't working. I grew tired of smearing ink on my paper, hand and wrist every time I wrote. I got fed up with scrambling for just the right (pun intended) seat at dinner, so I wouldn't spend the meal bumping elbows with my neighbor. I wearied of putting my arm at risk every time I used a table saw. Hell, I just wanted to be able to use a three ring binder or can opener like everybody else!

It all came to a head one day at a dinner party when I was pouring myself some gravy. Since the ladle had only one spout, I was using a back-hand method I'd developed for this occasion. Suddenly I saw, I mean really saw myself. The snickering and awkward glances from the other guests, it all made sense. They were right, I looked ridiculous. What kind of nightmare was I living in? How could I maintain this was a normal lifestyle?

So I sought help. My lefty and lefty apologist friends all tried to talk me out of it, but I stayed strong. Eventually I found help at The Goats-to-Sheep Ministry. They told me they loved me, that I could change, and live as a sinister-free, dexterous child of God.

I won't pretend it was easy. I spent weeks with my left arm tied to my side. I still have all the left pockets in my pants sewn shut, so I don't accidentally slip up and put my keys in there. I check carefully anytime I come up to a strange door. If the door knob is on the left side, I don't even go in. It's just too risky. I've had to empty one entire medicine cabinet in the bathroom because the door opens on the left, and I'm afraid some morning, still groggy from sleep, I'll reach for my toothbrush with the wrong hand, and the downward spiral will start again. Eventually, as I get stronger, I hope to put up a reminder note ('Think RIGHT'), and start storing just a few things in there. It's a process and we can't be ashamed to take baby steps.

I know some of you may be threatened by my new found righteousness. You may be filled with self-doubt when you hear about my new, healthier ways. I want you to know I don't hate you. I love you. I'm here for you. I can show you the way to leave that life behind. Imagine being able to drive a car, knowing you've cut your risk of a fatal accident by four. Think about the nine extra years of life you are likely to have as a right handed person. Don't listen to the nay-sayers who claim these scientific studies have been discredited. Don't let them tell you that children forced to change hands are more likely to stutter or have dyslexia. No, Satan (who is also a lefty) has many ways of drawing us back in the southpaw life. I'm not going to lie to you; it won't be easy. But all you need to is the love of Jesus and a good stout rope.

I'm here to help.


Unknown said...

"the love of Jesus and a good stout rope"

Heh heh heh.

Name two things every redneck keeps in his truck.

alright, I thought of like two more, and they are 'going to hell' bad, so I'm leaving them out. But that line is perfect for a Johnny Carson, Carnac the Magnificent style bit.

Cooper said...

You'd make a hot poster boy for the Ex-left movement (reclaiming lefties back for Jesus one hand at a time)!

Oh, and my right hand is yours, should you ever need it. The left, too ... After all, we're all going to hell, anyway, right? I mean, left.

Jess said...

Cooper! You naughty boy! Your right hand is supposed to be occupied elsewhere!

Patrick: You're a riot. BTW, "my sinister ways" had me chuckling. I wonder if the "sinister" reference is too subtle for some, but I do love that you're clearly a well-educated guy (whether in the classic sense or through your own personal efforts).

Joe Jubinville said...

What a brilliant little satire, Patrick. "The Gauche Conspiracy" LOL. Corrupted at such an early age - poor devil!

It works so well because its trajectory is so plausible, skating along the edge of pathos with enough true to life quandary to evoke emotional ambivalence, and therefore engagement. Funny stuff.

I only hope your protagonist finds an enlightened pastor before making that fateful trip to Home Depot. Jesus was known to consort with the left out all the time, much to the chagrin of the self righteous. They wanted to reform his left-handed ways too... and are still trying.

Patrick said...

Gentlemen, you're all too kind.

Davey, your mind is even dirtier than mine. Hadn't considered the bondage angle. Being a submissive for Jesus? That might be a whole other essay. Thanks for sparing us the 'going to hell bad' jokes. I'm already on the fast track there as it is.

Cooper, you're a prince, but we all knew that. Thank you for your full support. I might even be willing to revert to my hell-bound ways, if I means I get to hold your hand on the way.

Joe: "left out": OOH, that's good, I wish I'd thought of it. If I rework this, I'm stealing that. I'll try to remember to give you credit. Also like "self-righteous".

Sooo-this-is-me said...

I don't know if it is true but I once heard that the left side of the body is controlled by the right side of your brain. That is why I never felt bad because the saying went that only left handed people were in their right mind.


Will said...

When I was a kid in Catholic school, a nun actually made me write with my left hand for a week because all efforts to make me write legibly with my right hand failed spectacularly. I was miserable and the results were no better, so I was allowed to backslide into mey degenerate righthandedness.

I'm SO ashamed!

And this piece is a delightful send-up. Happy Thanksgiving, Patrick

Java said...

This is so funny! I love it! And I'm sure you are aware that left-handedness is more prevalent in gays than in the general population. You are definitely in good company.

Eric said...

Dear Ol' Patrick,
Once again, a brilliant post!
Your ambidextrous friend,