left handed

Left handed typing

13th August – #LeftHandersDay:

Little known fact, I am one of the 10% of people who are left handed… And it’s one of the reasons I type so fast!

Left hand

As a kid, we wrote with fountain pens which of course smudge all over the place for left handers. I’ve never mastered the strange contortions which other lefties managed in order to produce non-smudged text. Constantly I was told that I was too messy or too slow. I should have been fast and legible, but it was a choice of one or the other: I could not do both!

But I did make sure my essays were legible by using a word processor. Which is how I got very good at typing from an early age.

That means I can type at roughly the speed others talk at and take down exactly what they’ve said. Great for video captions, interviews, property reports… So it has been a positive thing professionally for me.

I’m not alone: Entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Presidents Bill Clinton and Barak Obama, Muppets creator Jim Henson – even Henry Ford, inventor of the first production line, was a left hander.

Some useful left handed links:

Famous left handers:

  • Presidents: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama
  • Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
  • Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Lewis Carroll, author Alice In Wonderland
  • Musicians: David Bowie, Noel Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, Sir Paul McCartney
  • Sports: John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Babe Ruth, Henry Cooper
  • Albert Einstein
  • Winston Churchill
  • Prince William

The Future?

In the past left-handedness has been discouraged by Victorian attitudes to “the devil’s hand”, so I suspect that 10% estimate may be somewhat conservative. Certainly the typing advantage being left handed gave me will soon wear off – by the time my kids leave school we won’t be typing, we’ll be talking at our computers.

We’re almost there with speech recognition, I’ve seen some exceptional prototypes recently. But regional accents tend to confuse them and we’ve seen some absolute howlers of typos caused by them – which spellchecks don’t pick up because it’s put a word which it thinks fits! So for the time being, the typist’s job is safe!