There were only a handful of left-handed kids I knew, and they all had such big personalities. There was the freckled redhead girl who liked to tell scandalous stories about her school in Britain and the kid who dyed half his hair blond and the other half black, split down the center, and wore safety pins randomly on his clothes. They also all griped about whiteboards and notebook rings and wrong-handed baseball mitts. But my school district growing up was so good about making sure lefties felt included that in a class of only right-handed people, we’d have six kids waiting for scissors, or two people who wouldn’t be able to catch a ball in P.E. that day. I know, all you lefties put up with this every day. But it really made me want to be ambidextrous, because it’s just… another skill, you know? I’ll never be stuck without a mitt or a pair of scissors.
I dragged out this notebook from when I was in kindergarten and practicing my words. Twenty-six pages, one letter on each page, and then a list of words below which started with that letter. I went through that book again left-handed, starting with “ambidextrous” for A. Holy hell, it was impossible. I made it to “quail”.
You know what’s cool about not being ambidextrous though? Six-year-olds think it’s hilarious that you can’t dot your i’s or cross your t’s without scratching out your whole word. Also, that summer I taught a three-year-old girl how to hold a pencil, and there is no better way to understand her frustration than to try to hold it with my left hand.