Friday, April 15, 2005

Left is Right

Have you seen that commercial for TIAA CREF where it shows a lecture hall and a professor standing at the front lecturing? The song playing in the background is "There's a Place for Us" from West Side Story. You know the one I'm talking about? If so, have you ever noticed anything peculiar about that commercial?

The image is flipped. How do I know this? Because 95% of the class is writing left-handed, and I doubt that only 5% of the people in that commercial are right-handers. And I'm betting that if anyone else has noticed this, they are left-handers themselves.

As a lefty, I've always stood beside a theory that left-handers quickly pick out who else is left-handed. I'm not sure why, but it's one of the first things I notice about someone. It's like a bonding issue. If you ask a right-handed person to describe herself to you, very rarely will she state that she is right-handed. But lefties identify with that characteristic and will quickly point it out.

I was always amazed when some of my childhood friends first noticed that I was a lefty when we were in high school. I'd been writing left-handed for 10 years, and they hadn't noticed. I could name for you every person that was in my 1L section that was left-handed. As proof of this theory, we were in a van in the middle of China over the summer, and I heard a classmate ask another if he knew how many lefties were in our class. The askee looked at him blankly, and no one else in the vicinity could answer it either. After a few minutes, I yelled from the front of the van that there were 4, and then named them off. The asker smiled and agreed, since he and I were 2 of the lefties. And no one else had noticed it.

And then everyone looked at us like we were idiots. It's ok, I'm used to it.