Right Handed Scissors in my Left Hand by Susan Holland

Originally published in Cowbird under pen name Fellow Traveler

  • A left-handed person has a special life-lesson learned very early.
  • Southpaws learn how to use right-handed tools from the get go. They get used to elbow bumping at the table, and soon choose the left end of the table to take a seat at a meal. Is it frustrating?
  • For my little brother cursive writing was a huge bugaboo, I recall. He got bad marks at school, when cursive was still a required skill. Slanting the writing to the right was the “correct” way to write cursive. He passed away a few years ago, having spent his very active life printing very neatly all his hand-written materials.
  • I was blessed with right-handedness. My first comeuppance with a “handedness handicap” was when I was designated milk and cream person for school meals. We had pitchers at the tables. Students would come from the white clothed tables to my window where I stood between a cream can on the left, and a milk can on the right, straight from our school’s dairy.
  • My job was to dip my two large pouring vessels into one or the other to re-fill the table pitchers when someone came to the special counter for a re-fill. I was taught that I must use my left hand for pouring out cream for efficiency’s sake. How awkward at first! Wobbly and nervous about not spilling the rich cream while aiming at the pitcher held out, it was a definite learning curve. Right hand milk pouring was easy. Left hand cream pouring was not.
  • This morning I had a thumbnail event — you know, one of those snaggled places that catches on everything, and will tear the nail off at a hurtful angle if not tended to. It was on my right thumb. Each time I am confronted with cutting things with scissors in my left hand I have to review how I did this last time…which way is it that you have to skew your fingers to get the right handed scissors tensioned so that they actually cut.
  • And as I tried it first the wrong way and then the right way, I appreciated, once again, my brother’s cumulative skills over the years being left-handed in a right handed world. So I watched my left hand struggle with getting the two blades aligned so they would cut, and I spent some time realizing that for 77 years I have had it easy. Of course there are clippers, but where are they when you need them?
  • RIP, dear little brother. I never really said “atta boy” to you for all that work. I say it now. Susan

Originally published at cowbird.com.