Today is officially “Left-Handers Day”, and I usually don’t think about the fact that I belong to this exclusive club, which only boasts 10% of the world’s population as its “members”. But once in a while, say, when I am opening a can of corn, or using scissors, or signing off a credit card purchase, I’ll think: “Oh yeah, I’m left-handed. Kinda cool.”
I guess it is fitting, in a way. I never felt that I belonged. My perpetual fear, even in adulthood, has been: Will I find a welcoming seat at the lunch table? That table has been the source of dread and excitement and stress, whether it now be of the conference, dinner, or bar variety. I just never found my place, I guess. Even when pursuing my passion, this writing thang, more often in a theater than anywhere else, I always sensed there were barriers. And this has had little to do with the instinct to pick up a crayon or a five-dollar bill with my sinister limb.
Or has it? At first, I enjoyed the attention that came with being left-handed. It was looked at as a quirk or even a talent, like being able to juggle, squirt water through your nose, belch the alphabet. It felt like a secret weapon, the ace up my sleeve, my go-to super power. There’s a robbery taking place? “Nobody panic,” I would assure the alarmed crowd, “I’ll stop him–I’m left-handed!” It was like harboring this long sought-after treasure, the last human being on earth able to understand Latin. Something like that.
Now I guess when I think of my left-handedness, I’m hoping it will be an interesting piece of trivia overshadowed by my immensely successful career as a playwright/diarist/domino player. Or perhaps I’ll remain anonymous, only discovered posthumously in the heaps of dusty spiral notebooks I’ll leave behind. Archaeologists and graphologists will pore over my manuscripts, and after concluding that I was a genius, also note: “See the curves in his ‘l’s and ‘z’s? Undoubtedly left-handed.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I don’t know if I want all that. I think what I really want is: a day job that doesn’t make me go crazy wondering if I’m having a nervous breakdown; an affordable space that is close to civilization and allows me to pivot comfortably without bruising my elbow; a working stove that is able to handle coffee and rice (the essentials); enough time and concentration to plot out my memoir of a turbulent upbringing in Queens, set out in plays, poems and novels; and a tremendously patient and understanding partner who will share that coffee with me and a foot rub every now and then (I walk a LOT. It helps me think.). Is that too much to ask?
Don’t blame me. Blame my left-handedness. Everyone else will.