Monday, 27 October 2008

It's official: Left is Best

I’m left-handed, and proud of it. And you might be amazed to know that the next US president, whether he be Obama or McCain, will be left handed. Indeed, they will be the fourth left-handed president out of the last five. How about that. The chances of this occurring are apparently 0.00009. Which one of ‘em is a rightie? Yeah, you guessed it, only the loathsome Dubya…

Given that roughly one in ten of us are left-handed, we definitely punch (southpaw) above our weight; Leonardo Da Vinci, Aristotle, Einstein, Julius Caesar, Emperor Charlemagne, Napoleon, Marilyn Monroe, John F Kennedy, Jimi Hendrix, even Jesus for Christ sake… all left-handers.

It’s fascinating to note just how many actors are left-handed. At a rough guess, I’d say it’s 50/50. Check it out for yourself next time you watch a movie… Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Steve McQueen, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt – I mean, come on!

But because of the cultural imperative that in the old days you had to choose which hand you wiped your arse with – the poor old left got the bum rap. Now you know why it’s called cack-handed. Sinister (from the Italian for left), gauche (from the French).. thank goodness modern hygiene has finally allowed us to flourish without prejudice.

Considering this yesterday, led me, by a tentative left-handed path that I can’t remember now, to thinking about personality. This was my thought: without other people to reflect back to you the kind of person you are, do you actually have a personality? I know, I’m going to bang on about it again, but who is the ‘you’ that you think you are, when you’re on your own?

I find my ‘personality’ entirely portable and chameleon-like. Sure, over the years I’ve grooved a personality that like an old overcoat I grudgingly slip on when I’m in company. But when I’m on my own… wow, you wouldn’t believe the different people that I am. In fact, I find that I can let the whole personality thing go, and watch it blob and morph around like a balloon without a social circumstance to anchor it. Do you ever sit and watch your personality going through its motions? When you go out, does it go through a check-list? Witty – checkish. Cool – hmm – kind of. Handsome – err, sort of. Suffering? Worried? Angry? What’s my story again? Oh yeah, I’m a 40 something would-be writer/reader/raconteur/iconoclast/decorator/dad/football fan/bon-viveur/traveller/thinker/seeker/visionary/natural philosopher/ bastard/has-been/fuck-up/survivor/guitarist/singer/songwriter/wanker/lover/man. Aren’t I?

Well, I know one thing, I’m left-handed.


(PS I lied about Jesus, but hey, you never know.)

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