March 9, 2006

Why Can't Everyone Be Perfect Like Me?

Last night Spike asked me if there was any such thing as an asymmetrical animal. The only one I could think of was the Flounder. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I now know way more than that. Snails, sponges, owls, crabs, lobsters are a few of nature's other freak shows. Then of course, I was e-wiled away into the realm of grotesquely abnormal animals and found a bounty of 2 headed, six-legged, circus types.

I don't know why it's so fascinating, after all, we are all fundamentally asymmetrical. Our hearts and a few other organs favor one side, one lung has 3 lobes while the other has 2, and most of us favor one side more than the other. The helpful blokes at the BBC had to take it one step further and study asymmetrical design and intelligence in our housepets. If you want to know how smart Fido, Whiskers, Mr. Wiggles or your unnamed goldfish is (or if he's a righty or lefty) run a few of these tests to find out.

But by far my favorite asymmetrical beast is Spike. One his feet is over an inch shorter than the other one. He has to shoe shop for the bigger foot so his little foot is always flopping noisily around inside its vast shoe. On top of that, he's a leftie and thus officially a weirdo.

There are worse things in the this world than being left-handed, but not many. In Japan, husbands were allowed to divorce their wives if they discovered they were left handed. A Roman warrior who was left handed would have his offending arm tied to his side during battle lest he try and fight with it. Nuns are notorious for ruler-slapping the chubby hands of children trying to finger paint with their left. And most disconcerting to our left-handed associates, there is a mysterious phenomena of left-handed people disappearing. About 12% of the population under 20 is left handed. Only 5% of the population in their 50's is. Researchers aren't quite sure yet why this is, but it would do all southpaws well to watch their backs at the grocery store.

Another little lefty tidbit - in Arabic culture hundreds of years ago, they were really into water conservation meaning they didn't wash their hands very much. Everyone used their left hand to clean up after using the bathroom and their right hands to eat. Anyone who even showed their left hand at the dinner table was considered rude. For an Arabic man to eat with his left hand was a worse faux pas than socks with sandals. Arabic culture is still pretty touchy about this one - although I hope it's just residual effect, not washing your hands is so Ming Dynasty. The recent Denmark scandal wasn't so much about the content of the cartoon, but that it was drawn by a leftie. Those guys have uber-hangups.

So all in all, I have no clue what all these lefties are so happy about. Left handedness has been associated with mental illness, birth defects and failure to thrive at a crowded dinner table. I guess we should let them have their support groups, their specialty stores and their Major League Baseballers. They don't have much else. To me, there isn't much difference between them and the three-headed frog. Except the frog is a fun travel size who doesn't complain about scissors.

To date I've offended scrapbookers, English major and lefties. Now I just need to do a rant post about guinea pig owners and I'll be content.


Stephanie said...

As an offended English major, I'm also offended for lefties although I'm a rightie. After all, there might not be enough lefties out there to be offended though I'm sure they all read your blog religiously like I do.

Jared said...

Steph, I'm offended that you're offended.