Ambidextrous means being able to use either hand equally. The left hand is known as sinister; but not quite a monstrosity. I am right-handed so I combined those words for this weird blog – forgive me, you language purists out there.

Did you ever try to use your non-dominant hand for automatic daily tasks? Not easy.

My youngest son when a baby was thumbidextrous. He would suck whichever thumb was closest to his mouth, while the other was being used to do something else. Now in his 40s, he is very handy with both hands, but favors his right hand as most of us do. Nothing sinister there.

An article about a woman who had had a stroke and lost the use of her dominant, right hand got me thinking. She had real difficulties using her left hand to do the most mundane tasks – like brushing her hair or her teeth. They had to be relearned, not easy for an elderly person.

Imagine one day not having to think about how to do something, and the next day – wham! Back to the beginning.

I’m very grateful that these days wonky teeth are usually capped or crowned instead of being removed, so I don’t have to bother with dentures like my poor mom, who kept loosing hers at the retirement home where she spent her last days. But they only needed soaking, not brushing.

Thinking of that other poor woman, I decided then and there I wouldn’t be caught out; I started using my left hand to brush my teeth. I should say, trying to brush my teeth. The hardest part was stopping my right hand from reaching up and taking charge of the toothbrush; who knew it would be so motivated?

I can finally do it without much trouble, and brushing my short hair has never been a left-handed problem. But what about writing?

I could always use the computer, but I like doing newspaper crosswords, and surely my real signature would be necessary at some point?

So I have been doing the morning crosswords with my left hand (thank goodness capital letters work best) and they are beginning to look less crazy. I still have to be careful about Us and Vs.

Now I’m practicing my signature. It’s really bad , but I don’t think that will be a problem because it looks just like the one you inscribe on the supermarket credit card machines. If a machine can read it, it should be ok.

At least no one would be able to forge it! There are some benefits to bad penmanship.

Bad writing, that’s another story.


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