Matter of Laugh or Death
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
STUDY OF LEFT-HANDERS CAN’T BE RIGHT
Once again it’s bad news for me and my fellow left-handers. A recent news story was titled, “Left-handers face earlier deaths.” The results of a nine-year scientific study found that the average left-handed person dies almost four years earlier than the average right-handed person.
Isn’t it bad enough I have to work on this computer using a right-handed mouse? Do you think I enjoy twisting my wrist into an awkward position each time I need to set my watch? Don’t people realize I break out in a cold sweat whenever I have to use a screwdriver, a can opener, or a pair of scissors? (The scissors phobia, I’m certain, developed in the first grade when my teacher took one look at me trying to use those plastic safety scissors and said, “What are you, retarded or something?” Nowadays, of course, teachers are much more sensitive and compassionate, and they are trained to build up the self-esteem of little left-handers by saying, “What are you, Attention Deficit Disordered or something?”)
It’s tough enough trying to succeed in life when 90-percent of the world is right-handed, but now they tell us we’re going to die sooner? Sheesh. Sounds like an oppressed minority to me. I think we left-handers need a political action committee and a few billion dollars in federal assistance.
The leader of the scientific study, Professor Lee Ellis, of Minot State University in North Dakota (school motto: “We have nothing better to do than study left-handed people”), said the reason for the mortality gap is unknown. Some experts speculate the gap is due to left-handers being more accident prone. (Yup, I knew it—one little slip with those plastic safety scissors and you suddenly find yourself laid out on a slab at the morgue. It’s the hidden horror of every first grade classroom.)
Professor Ellis, himself a lefty, is not sure about the accident theory, but he says the answer could lie in the body’s neurology and physiology. “It seems left-handed…people are just wired slightly differently,” he said. (I once wired a clothes dryer “slightly differently” than what a licensed electrician might recommend and almost set the house on fire.)
Well, we may be klutzes and we may die early, but we lefties constitute a huge percentage of the creative and talented geniuses throughout history. For example, here are the some of the all-time greats in their respective fields, all left-handed:
There have been many great left-handed leaders throughout history: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte. Many modern leaders are left-handed, with some of the lefties being leftist, such as Fidel Castro and Bill Clinton; while others are at the opposite end of the political spectrum, such as Ronald Reagan and Benjamin Netanyahu.
British royalty is loaded with left-handers. Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, King George VI, and the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II—all lefties. The next in line, Prince Charles, is left-handed, as is the next-next in line, his son Prince William. If you need to bring in a lefty in the ninth inning of a tight game, you’d be better off ringing up Buckingham Palace than phoning the Red Sox bullpen.
OK, we all agree (or at least 10-percent of the population agrees) that left-handers are much more creative and talented than right-handers. But what about this premature death thing? I think left-handed celebrities are screwing up the average. The anonymous, everyday left-handed shlubs, like me, are probably safe.
Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose. Marilyn Monroe also died of a drug overdose. Babe Ruth died of a booze and cigar overdose. Julius Caesar died of a knife-in-the-back overdose.
So I should be able to live as many years as a right-handed person as long as I don’t become a famous celebrity or get addicted to drugs, booze, tobacco, or political assassins. (I hope being addicted to donuts isn’t too bad.)
Also, I need to stay away from those plastic safety scissors.
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