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Left to conform: A day in the life of a South Paw.

August 27, 2010

6:45 a.m. Alarm goes off. Radio station not coming in clear. Adjust with right hand; dial is located on the right.

7:14 a.m. Grab right-handed scissors and do a poor job of cutting with my left hand to open a new bag of cat food. Right-handed scissors are designed so the right-handed user can easily see the line being cut; not the case with left-handers. (I vividly recall having to cut a perfect circle of the earth in 2nd grade and my teachersaying, “Just make sure there are no jagged edges.” It turned out looking like a buzzsaw).

7:21 a.m. Put on necklace struggling with little lobster claw on right-hand side.

7:28 a.m. Get into car. Insert key with right hand. Switch from Park, to Reverse, to Drive with right hand. Use right foot for braking and accelerating. Luckily, I am right-footed.

7:59 a.m. Boot up computer. Use right-handed mouse to open Outlook, Word, browser and all other programs. In grade school, the mice were on the right-hand side, so I still use my right hand for mice and track pads today. I was always terrible with computer paint programs, and it took me years to figure out why.

8:23 a.m. Open jar of peanut butter in kitchen, designed for righties. Struggle with jam, also designed for righties.

8:45 a.m. Jot down some notes, writing left to right. Per usual, smear ink, resulting in an attractive blue smudge down the side of my hand.

9 a.m. — 3 p.m. Laptop Docking, undocking, re-docking, undocking, using right hand.

3:15 p.m. Shake hands with client using the ‘ol right hand as left-hand shakes can be considered disrespectful.

4:47 p.m. Adjust date/time on my analog watch. It’s not easy to tell time upside down, so use right hand to wind it forward.

5:43 p.m. Lock building using key with right hand. Locking and unlocking are simple tasks I learned right-handed. It would be easier had I learned them left-handed.

6:50 p.m. Open cans with right-handed can opener. Peel vegetables with right-handed peeler.

7:23 p.m. Sit to the right of my right-handed boyfriend when eating dinner so that we continue to bump elbows throughout the meal. You think we would’ve figured out better seating arrangements by now.

8:14 p.m. Play Wii tennis. (Gotta get my cardio in after the big dinner). Select left-handed player option. In your face, computer avatar. If there was no left-handed option, there’s no way I would ever stand a chance.

10:27 p.m. Turn off lamps, all with switches on right side.

This snapshot may be melodramatic — life as a Southpaw is really not a huge inconvenience for me — but it is interesting to consider how we typically conform to the majority. It’s important that companies and organizations evaluate a wide variety of factors that their customers face. The ones who might not fit the traditional mold can feel “left” out, and often appreciate the time you take to consider and address their needs. Also, communicating tailored messages to these different segments often leads to a better ROI than an umbrella approach to marketing. Right?

One Comment
  1. Ruth Hickok permalink
    August 30, 2010 11:52 pm

    Love this post, Mary! Very well articulated :) I have vivid childhood memories of my mom (right-handed) and my dad (left-handed) arguing about which was less irrational: Is it better to be able to see see where you’re writing next on the line, or to not risk smearing the ink with your hand? Instead of finding a solution to the debate, they simply made sure the kids could use our knife and fork with both hands.

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