“Do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, for it is not worth knowing.” Henry Thoreau
Why do I mini-golf, play hockey, throw frisbee and open jars with my left hand when I am totally right handed? With the exception of holding a drink, I honestly can’t do any other solo-hand activities with my opposite hand. Sure the left hand is great at assisting my right hand to type, carry boxes, swing a bat and so forth but that is it. I mean, my writing looks like that of a sleeping kindergartener if I use my left, my texting takes hours as need extreme focus to tap each letter and you would need to call me scarface if I attempted to shave left handed so what gives?
I realize that I am not ambidextrous since I am not equally capable with each hand but what am I? It’s possible that I’m simply a right-hander with skills or perhaps even a repressed left-hander but I am looking for a real answer. I want to know why certain activities feel as natural with my left hand as nearly every other activity does with my right. I want to know why I throw toss a frisbee like a champ with the opposite hand yet throw like the stereotypical ‘girl’ when I use that same hand to throw a football. I want to know I want to know I want to know….
According to Wikipedia, the answer I’m looking for is cross-dominance which can also be known as mixed-handedness, mixed dominance, or hand-confusion. The term is defined as a motor skill manifestation where one favors one hand for some task and the other hand for others. Um, boring? I now have a term for it but not a reason. I want to know why!!! Side note, I really like the term hand-confusion because my skills are as random and unexplainable as they are confounding so I will tuck that away in my memory bank.
I want to know the why, but I’ll at least settle for the what. And, knowing the what allows me to specify what I am not as in I am NOT ambidextrous nor am I left-handed which is a great relief. Ambidextrous folks are particularly lucky or well off as the Mental Floss explains well here.
As for left-handers, well, it is well-documented that they typically at a disadvantage since they live in a right-handed world. In fact, only 10-12% of the human race is left handed which explains the right handed writing utensil. Don’t believe me, just pick up the nearest pen or pencil, hold it like you are going to write and note which way the text reads. Now switch hands and do the same – right handed viewing, right?
We live in a right handed world where being a lefty is typically more boon then asset, unless of course you are a converted one like Rafael Nadal. I may be part lefty but I am glad that I am more right handed. You could say that I am 10-12% left handed and 88-90% awesome handed. High Five!!!