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Seth Brown: A modest proposal: All these left-handers should just learn the Right way

Obama signs with left hand

President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Obama is among five recent left-handed presidents.

Although I try very hard to be a tolerant person and respect people’s differences, there are some things that simply aren’t natural.

And so when I read about what they’re letting kids get away with in schools these days — things that wouldn’t have even been allowed in the good old days, let alone encouraged by teachers — it becomes clear that kids today aren’t learning what’s right. And the blame lies with the Left.


Yes, left-handedness is apparently being permitted in schools now, in spite of the fact that it quite literally isn’t right. I’m right-handed, my parents are right-handed, my partner is right-handed, and it’s clear to me that right-handedness is the way the world should work. In fact, it’s the way the world does work; most of the world is designed for right-handed people, as it should be.

That proves that left-handedness is an abomination; it goes against the way we’ve set everything up. Or at least it used to. Back in the good old days, before the turn of the century in the late 1800s, the world was very Right-thinking.

The Industrial Revolution came and went, leaving in its wake an ever-increasing number of assembly lines and machines, all designed for right-handed people like myself. Any Southpaw using those right-hand machines would find them difficult to operate. And a left-hander on the assembly line stuck out like a sore thumb, throwing off the smooth sameness of the motions.

Because of this, it was easy to see left-handers as clumsy oafs, without the dexterity to use right-handed machines easily. And so we did everything we could to make sure those sinister lefties didn’t exist.

We had all our right-hand machines — no one would ever imagine making left-handed scissors to coddle the lefties — and the schools taught that the only proper way to write was right. Handed. Children caught writing with their left hand would have that hand smacked with a ruler.

But we lost our way. As the 20th century wore on, we started accommodating those sinister left-handers. And because of this, the numbers of children with this unnatural aberration skyrocketed. Left-handed people became successful and happy. They became celebrities. They even became president — half of the last 10 presidents, in fact.

And sure, folks will argue that some children are just naturally born that way and that it only hurts them to force them to live otherwise, that people were always naturally left-handed but the world wasn’t built for them, so they had to be miserable. And now that we finally began accepting it instead of punishing it, because there are left-handed desks and options for them, left-handers are thriving. And you can see that the percentage of left-handers plateaued in the 1960s, arguably because there were always a percentage of left-handers, but now they got to live openly as themselves and not hide and be miserable because we punished them for being who they are.

But I don’t buy it. I think the invention of left-handed scissors in the late 60s was an abomination, leading to teachers basically “grooming” kids to be left-handed, by which I mean acknowledging that left-handed people exist and it’s OK if you happen to be left-handed, and you don’t need to be punished and made miserable for your whole life because of it.

Maybe I’m biased because I support those strict religious schools where anyone caught writing left-handed would be smacked on the knuckles with a hard wooden ruler until your knuckles bled. Sometimes a nun would tie a child’s left-hand to their chair, to prevent it from being used. Sometimes they’d even slam books onto the left hands of left-handed children, because left-handedness was seen as a sign of a dirty soul. If you have any left-handed friends, ask them how they feel about this.

The rest of the world has become too permissive of left-handedness, but not me. I don’t want to hear about left-handers being creative, because I refuse to acknowledge anything positive about left-handedness, which I know is evil. As a proud right-hander, I don’t want my kids to be left-handed. But I also don’t want your kids to be left-handed. I think it’s weird, and I worry my kid might secretly be left-handed and start to think it’s OK.

Unacceptable. I know I wouldn’t want you telling me how to raise my kid, but I’m really uncomfortable with left-handed people, so I want the government to step in and make them miserable. They may be left-handed, but I’d rather bloody some hands, break some fingers, punish those kids every day for being left-handed, and have them spend their childhoods in misery because writing with their right hand will always feel wrong to them.

The alternative would be to acknowledge that differences exist, and prioritize other people’s welfare and happiness over my bias against something that doesn’t affect me at all. And that just wouldn’t feel Right.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of “The Disapproval Of My Toaster,” and thinks analogies are handy. His website is RisingPun.com.

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