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Right need not be right

| Friday, August 31, 2018

In a world lined by tragedy and disappointment, it can be quite easy to give up hope. With the new age widespread availability of information, we are constantly reminded of the oppressed around the world, and we’re left with an uneasy feeling. Amidst this rampant persecution, many downtrodden groups of our world are forgotten. We forget about those experiencing hardship daily who may not be featured on the 9 o’clock news. We forget those on the outskirts of society, so quietly repressed we barely remember their existence. We forget about those who need our help the most. So I write this column to turn the reader’s attention to a group which has been mocked, ridiculed and, worst of all, forgotten, here in the United States. A group filled with pioneers, intellectuals of the highest degree and innovators who could make the world a better place for all but has been quieted by truly evil corporations and ignorant social institutions — lefties.

My name is Connor Mulvena, and I am left handed. It took a lot for me to reveal this fact to you just now. I’ve always been afraid that my friends, peers and even my extended family might shun me as a result. I’ve spent my life writing in hiding, completing my homework in dark corners hunched over a tiny flashlight, hoping no one would witness a pen in my left hand. I couldn’t take part in ordinary athletics in my youth — if parents saw me shoot a basketball with my left hand or kick a soccer ball with the opposite foot, I feared they might tell their children to stay away. But I soldier on.  

And let me be perfectly clear — I’m actually left handed. I’m not one of those fake lefties who writes with their left but throws with their right or any other disgusting combination. I write this to raise awareness for those like myself, not these charlatans who lack the courage to pick a side. They’re not one of us; they don’t come to the meetings, and frankly, they wouldn’t be welcome even if they tried. But enough about me. It’s important you all realize the nature of the oppression I describe, led by a strong and unrelenting right fist that controls all.

You must understand that the oppression of lefties in American is pervasive. It touches all aspects of life, and the smallest of those, the ones the right-handed take for granted, are the worst of all.

Think about all of the social customs tailored for righties with no regard for those who hang from the left side. We always talk about the importance of a solid handshake. It must be firm, but not too firm, brief, but not disrespectfully so. Yet we never talk about the possibility of a left-handed shake. Do you understand how utterly humiliating and nerve-racking a handshake can be for a lefty in this climate? We look like buffoons as we muster the courage and strength to raise our non-dominant hand in greeting. Those I meet give me a look of confusion after greeting me, as if I were some sort of savage alien from a planet unbeknownst to them. I personally haven’t left my home or dorm in years, fearing I may encounter a new person and have to extend my right hand.

What about writing, in school and beyond? Our “pedagogues” force us from an early age to write from left to right. They teach us that this is the only way, the “right” way, how painfully ironic. Kindergarten teachers sit beside righties with a helping hand as they begin to craft letters on page for the first time, but they ignore the lonely lefty in the corner with ink blots smeared all over his precious hand as if he had been finger painting on his own.

I can’t even enjoy a meal with others comfortably. If I sit on the outside of the table, I constantly jab elbows with the person to my left. Of course, I’m the one blamed for the elbow war, not the righty who rarely has to worry about these matters. I haven’t enjoyed a meal in years.

The most hurtful of all are the colloquialisms which subtly jab at our very existence. We’re told to “do what is right.” My own faith undermines my dexterity. In Ecclesiastes, it is said: “A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left.” What am I to make of this? My life is a constant reminder of my imperfections, because in this world, in this nightmare of a society, the masses subscribe to the hurtful notion that right means correct.

Of course, it would be foolish of me to generalize and claim that all righties are evil. There are a few among you who exhibit kindheartedness. I’m even friends with a few of you, much to my chagrin. But still, awareness must be raised. So I’ll end by saying this: to the righties of the world, please remember us. You may not always notice our insecurities, but know they are there and know we need your help. Because unfortunately, it’s a right-handed world. Martin Luther King Jr. is often cited as saying, “The time is always right to do the right thing.” I imagine it’s easy to be that encouraging when you’re right handed. I hope my readers can take this advice, but instead, for once, go left.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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