Monday, March 18, 2013

The frightening association between left-handedness and a depressing early death

(A QUICK NOTE: It's my wife Terry's birthday today. She is now an age somewhere between 43 and 45. She is also very pretty and very awesome, so happy birthday, hon!)

(ANOTHER QUICK NOTE: At the end of today's post is a request for a quick favor on behalf of my awesome next-door neighbor, Chris Warneka. He's a great kid, and with your help he can earn a well-deserved scholarship to the University of Dayton. Go Flyers!)

I am left-handed, the only one of the seven people in my house who holds that distinction. And it's not so much a "distinction" as it is a "cause for forcible reeducation and possible persecution" in certain authoritarian countries.

This is true. According to, while 8 to 10% of the world's population is left-handed, there are some nations in which the rate is much lower because kids there are, let's say, highly encouraged to shed this particular trait. The rate of left-handedness is supposedly only 3.5% in China, 2.5% in Mexico, and a stunning 0.7% in Japan.

You know what else reports about lefties that really scares me? This little tidbit, which I'll quote verbatim (Wait, before I do that, is the phrase "quote verbatim" redundant? I think it is. I mean, if you quote someone non-verbatim, then you're just paraphrasing and not quoting, right? Yeah, I probably should have just said "which I'll quote here," or "which I'll present to you verbatim." Sorry, but stuff like this bugs me.)

Anyway, here's the thing from that scares me:

"...but what's really intriguing is that left-handers are found less often in older age groups. About 15% of 10-year-old children are left-handed, and this percentage steadily declines as people grow older. By the age of 90, there are virtually no left-handers left in the population. Women tend to live longer than men anyway; but when you add handedness, the difference becomes truly startling. According to a famous article published in 1991 in Psychological Bulletin, right-handed women have a life expectancy of around 77, but left-handed men only live to about 62. Conversely, left-handed women and right-handed men have nearly identical life expectancies, of right around 72. Overall, right-handers live 9 years longer than left-handers!"

Um, what? How come I've lived 43 years on this planet and only just now came across this particular bit of information? And what's worse, no one seems to know exactly why this is. I have two theories of my own:

THEORY #1: Right-Handers Are Killing Off Left-Handers
I would not put this past you right-handed people. Don't think we don't see your jealous stares. You want to be like us, but nature has not blessed you in the same way (well, other than the life expectancy thing). Lefties are disproportionately represented in such cool occupations as musicians, architects and artists. We're naturally awesome and you resent it.

THEORY #2: Left-Handers Are Dying Of Ink Poisoning
My fellow lefties know what I'm talking about. When you're left-handed and you write with a pen, your left hand inevitably rubs across your freshly written text, turning the bottom of your hand black or blue or whatever color you're using. Over the years, I've probably soaked up 20 or 30 gallons of ink through my hand. This can't be good for you. Eventually, this has to damage your internal organs or something, doesn't it? This could easily account for left-handers living a full decade less than their right-handed brethren.

It is somewhat amazing to me that none of my children is left-handed. But then again, I have three siblings and I'm the only one who uses "le droit gauche." My dad was also left-handed, but he grew up in the 1930s and somewhere along the way he was forced to switch from his left hand to his right. This was, you will note, after he had already learned to write. I can't imagine how hard that must have been.

Left-handers often like to point out famous people who are also southpaws, a list that includes two of the last three U.S. presidents (Obama and Clinton), Judy Garland, Hugh Jackman, Peter Graves, Matthew Broderick, and Angelina Jolie, among others.

You know who was right-handed? Every other famous person in the history of the universe. So I'm not exactly sure what we get so excited about.

Hi everyone! 
I have a video in the University of Dayton’s "What's Your Point" video scholarship contest. To be in the running for the scholarship, I need to be one of the top ten who receive the most votes.
Can you please help me? Everyone is allowed to vote once per week for the next four weeks, and I'll be flooding Facebook with this link, and I can remind everyone if they need! 
(To find my video, take this link:
First, LIKE the University’s page. Then hit "vote now", then "sort by name" and make sure the arrow is pointing up because it sorts by first name. I'm in the fifth row down, all the way on the left.)
Also, I need this video to go as viral as possible: Can you please share this (by posting the link and my name) to as many other people as you can? Instructions to vote for me are also available on the YouTube video description (Search: Christopher Warneka “What’s Your Point?” video), so if it’s easier to share that as well by all means please do! (I just need people to know to see the instructions to vote for me, so please mention that the description is very important!)
I have over 500 friends on Facebook. If you each vote for me (a whopping four times maximum- once per week, I promise I’m not asking for much of your time) and show the video to someone that can do the same, this video can get me closer to being at the University of Dayton in no time!
Thank you so much for anything you can do to help me!
P.S. If you like me, think of this as helping me out! If you DON’T like me, think of it as helping yourself be assured that you won’t see me for about the next four years! 
P.S.S. If you are not interested in voting/helping me; please let me know right away so that I don’t send you weekly reminders about this contest. I really hope nobody feels this way though! 

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