A Southpaw Surviving in a Right-Handed World

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IT WAS A SOURCE of amusement—for folks outside my family, anyway—when my twenty-seven fellow seniors “honored me” during our final year at Early High School in 1956. I was elected–unanimously, I might add–“most likely to remain left-handed.”

I felt a slight sting, my folks frowned and my brother Fred feigned sympathy, laughing about it when out of our hearing.

Never nimble or quick, I gave no thought to jumps over candlesticks. I was clumsy in most ways, often blaming my “left-handedness.”

*****

   Another writer recently detailed dealing with life from the left side for almost a decade. During third grade, however, his teacher—believing “left-handedness” to be a sure sign of a slow learner—guided him to his “right” mind.

Dr. Dan Crawford, a long-time seminary prof, cited much evidence that “righties” have been favored, probably even before Moses came down off the mountain. (A loony theologian—not Dan—used to say Moses made a wrong turn when he came down from Mount Sinai. “If he’d turned left instead of right, they’d have the commandments and we’d have the oil.” This is closely akin to the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir’s joke questioning whether Moses was truly a great prophet. “He took us forty years through the desert to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!”)

Crawford cited the “right hand of Christian fellowship,” wondering, “Is there no such fellowship in my left hand?”

*****

   qualcomm-telecommunications-write-left-handed-small-34318He wrote of Jesus’ “sitting at the right hand of God,” and that in many cultures, the right hand is considered a symbol of power and authority.

Crawford provided several other scriptures to make “left-handers” cringe, but his treatise ended well.

“The good news is that the left hand is as much a part of the body as the right, and that’s true of the physical body, as well as ‘the Body of Christ’….many members, but part of one body.”

*****

   Down deep, I’ve always wished to have been right-handed, thinking this might have meant I would be more physically coordinated.

I’m sure it would have made scooping popcorn easier. (Over the past forty-plus years, popcorn has been my calling card. I also served it on the back porch–when the porch light was on–at the Howard Payne University president’s home during our dozen years there.)

So far, I’ve popped, bagged and handed out some twenty-six tons of popcorn, all of it with scoops that empty from the wrong side.

*****

   I seem forever to be in the fast lane of “left-handedness,” no matter how “right” my intentions happen to be. There are many examples, some of them quite fresh.

Recently, when I passed a box-like truck, eight to ten miles outside of Abilene, I noted little about the vehicle as I eased around it. But glancing in the mirror, I noticed one headlight wasn’t working.

Thoughts of the Jericho Road came to mind as I thought of being a Good Samaritan. So, I pulled to the side, turned on hazard lights and stepped out onto the highway, waving my arms like flag-wavers at car race tracks. The driver had hundreds of yards to stop his truck.

*****

   But no. He swerved to the other side, driving faster as he whizzed past, “bumfuzzling” me, albeit briefly.

Words on the side of the truck explained much: “Loomis Armored Car Services,” or something close to that.

Thankfully, there were no vehicles approaching from the other direction; otherwise, I might have wound up graveyard dead in a pancake configuration.

*****

   It was not my intention–probably contrary to the driver’s report that his quick action averted a heist by an old gray-haired guy–to be anything but helpful.

Later in the day, I was deservedly lectured by a gendarme in a West Texas community for a minor moving vehicle violation. He had “some checking to do” on his computer, and a full five minutes elapsed before he sauntered to my car.

Gratefully, there was nothing in his findings about the license number of a car driven a few hours earlier by an old guy with a heist on his mind. He lectured and I listened—with both sides of the brain.

*****

   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Speaking inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury.

WhenThePorchLightsOn-3dLeft

Please click the book cover image to read more about Don Newbury’s humorous and inspirational stories in When the Porch Light’s On.

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    You? A southpaw? I should have known. Your wit and wisdom has always come from the wrong side of the street, but it’s a street where we should all be walking.

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