Johnny America




My friend Loret­ta likes to make fun of me for be­ing left-hand­ed. Ap­par­ent­ly, the Bible is adamant about left­ies’ fun­da­men­tal malev­o­lence, and we’re sup­posed to die years be­fore our right-hand­ed peers. We’re sup­posed to be clum­sy, evil, and mild­ly retarded.

I tell her that her be­liefs are em­bar­rass­ing­ly ar­cha­ic. Left-hand­ed is the thing to be nowa­days. We’re dom­i­nat­ed by the right hemi­sphere of the brain, mak­ing us more cre­ative than right-han­ders. There are sta­tis­ti­cal­ly more left-hand­ed ge­nius­es in the world than right-hand­ed ones, and col­lege grad­u­ates earn 15% more mon­ey when they’re left-hand­ed. Left­ies have bet­ter prob­lem-solv­ing skills. We have larg­er vo­cab­u­lar­ies. No­table left-han­ders in­clude Ji­mi Hen­drix, John Dillinger, MC Es­ch­er, Lewis Car­roll, Michelan­ge­lo, Paul Mc­Cart­ney, and Leonar­do da Vin­ci. We’re bet­ter in fist­fights. We see bet­ter underwater.

Loret­ta has been watch­ing my lat­est spiel with an in­fu­ri­at­ing smug­ness, but I know she’s im­pressed. She stands, and for a fleet­ing mo­ment I imag­ine her falling to my feet, cry­ing des­per­ate­ly, “Teach me to be left-hand­ed! Oh, please!” In­stead, she makes her way to her desk.

“That is im­pres­sive,” she says. “The ev­i­dence con­nect­ing left-hand­ed­ness and in­tel­li­gence is staggering.”

I nod en­thu­si­as­ti­cal­ly. “We’re pret­ty much brilliant.”

“I’m be­gin­ning to change my mind,” Loret­ta says, “but there’s on­ly one way to tru­ly set­tle this de­bate.” She ap­proach­es me, car­ry­ing a piece of pa­per and a pair of scis­sors. “I chal­lenge you to a pa­per-cut­ting contest.”

My smile fal­ters. “That’s not fair.”

“Okay. We can have a pota­to-peel­ing con­test or a putting-on-belts con­test instead.”

Damn it.

Filed under Fiction on November 12th, 2010

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Paul Lamb wrote:

Do you read the XKCD com­ic? This is ex­act­ly the kind of humor/wit/cleverness I see there. (Which is a round­about way of say­ing I liked your story.)

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