Sunday, August 8, 2010
Leading Off And Playing Shortstop, Lieutenant Sulu
Yesterday, while watching a baseball game, I had one of those realizations that other people don't need to have because they have brains.
I think I had a brain once, but I misplaced it.
The realization was when baseball players indicate that there are two outs (which they do with their index finger and pinkie spread and their middle two fingers touching each other), they do so with their throwing hands, which are their dominant hands. It'd be kind of silly for them to do it with the hand that's in their glove (that's the part people with brains realize without thinking).
I've been aware for a very long time that I can do the Live Long And Prosper gesture from Star Trek a whole lot better with my left hand than with my right. So I started indicating two outs, and that too, I could do a lot more successfully left handed than right handed (see all those nifty self-portrait photographs).
This got me wondering, as I have in the past, whether I am a natural lefty, or even more likely, a natural neither (or maybe both).
I do everything right handed, and I have no memory of switching hands. I remember every injustice I suffered in kindergarten, and I'm sure if my teacher had made me go from left to right handed, I'd still be sulking about it.
But I also know that I could only tell which was my right hand and which was my left by wearing a ring on my right hand and a watch on my left, and that when I played baseball as a kid, I could never remember which side of the plate I was supposed to stand on. When my friend Christy taught me how to crochet while facing me, I learned mirror image and stitched with my left hand (Christy thought that was very funny, and I promptly started crocheting right handed, because I am extremely sensitive to peer group pressure).
So yesterday, in search of answers to this lifelong question, I went to Google. I learned the history of Live Long And Prosper. Note how well Mr. Spock does it with his right hand.
And while I didn't learn the history of the two men out gesture (trust me, you don't want to Google "two men out"), I found this fabulous left hand/right hand hit the dot test, which I did both yesterday and today and got identical scores on (24 right, 14 left). I'm not sure what that means, except that I'm consistent in my successes and failures.
A number of years ago, there was a wonderful article in The New Yorker about twins. The article said lots of pregnancies start out as twins, and many of them terminate almost immediately, and some terminate with one fetus living and one not, and that since identical twins can be mirror image (one right handed, the other left), it could be that left handed people started out as twins but the righty didn't make it. Whether that's true or not, it's a nifty image, and you'll never look at left handed people the same way (and if you are left handed, well, you'll never look at yourself the same way, until you forget about this blog entry, which will probably be immediately if your brain is any way similar to mine, and if it is, you have my condolences).
But given my 24/14 (I must take that test again; I'm certain I could do better next time) and my lefthanded crocheting, I'm starting to wonder if I was one third of a set of triplets when I first began, one lefty, one righty, and me in the middle.
If that's true, then my poor mother. I'm sure it would have been much easier for her to have the All Righty Susan Beth Pfeffer or the All Lefty Susan Beth Pfeffer than the All Mixed Up Susan Beth Pfeffer she's been stuck with for so many decades!