Having now spent an entire week with my left hand in a cocoon I can tell you exactly why we evolved with opposing hands. No matter how smart you are, when you’ve only got one hand, it is virtually impossible to do all sorts of basic things that even a child can do:

Washing my right hand. Think about it.

Washing or spraying deodorant on my left underarm.

Brushing my nightguard.

Putting on socks. It’s actually doable but very tricky. Baby

Tying my shoelaces.

Reaching into my left pants pocket.

Touch typing. This was dictated speech to text.

Peeing. I’m actually surprised that I somehow managed to get it in and out of my pants countless times without getting it caught on a zipper. Whew.

Opening a bottle of wine. This was particularly distressing.

Cutting food. My wife has to do it for me. Too depressing for words.

Cooking. Absolutely impossible.

Washing dishes. No complaints here.

Opening a zip lock bag. Without using your teeth.

Locking about half the doors in my house.

On the other hand (no pun intended), I must be at least as smart as a monkey since I did figure out how to peel and eat a banana one-handed.

My OCD got a little crazed when I realized I had to put my pants on left leg first – the opposite of how I’ve been doing it my entire life.

And after two frustrating mornings trying to teach my wife how to make cappuccino like a pro – not surprising considering it took me years to master – I did manage to make it work one-handed, although I did have to get really creative. The good news is I only splattered superheated milk all over the kitchen once.

Image credit Rikard Elofsson via Flickr

  • SamHanson

    Man, how long do you have to be like this?

    • Steve Tobak

      Good question.

  • Barry Duck

    It is a learning experience when something like that changes your routine. Its amazing what you can come up with when you really want to get something done. I had a stroke in 2015 and had to learn to do simple things all over again, which was a real hard time but with the help of physical therapist, I overcome most of it with a lot of hard work. The nurses would catch me trying to do things for myself and fixed my bed with an alarm, but I am an electronics instuctor and overcome that pretty quick. Hope you get back to normal soon.

  • turnbackthealarmpgh

    Good luck! Been there, done that with my dominant right hand. You are lucky you don’t have to put mascara on with your non-dominant hand. 🙂

    • Steve Tobak

      Ha! You can never be sure these days. 😉

  • Bucha

    I was crippled at 14, a very long time ago. Most people do not realize how priveledged they are being just able to walk over 2 miles, to use non-disability restrooms, to bike, to ski (still remember those enjoyments), to put on their boots, to pick up car keys they dropped in the middle of the street, to snorkel from a boat, to wash floors, to sit on the floor, to walk to the car after a freezing rain, to …
    I have never took any disability, never asked for a special treatment, have my own business. But the age takes its toll. Last month I tried to “use” my condition for the first time. We went to Carlsbad Caverns National Park for a short New Year vacation. Two of their full capacity elevators are not working for several years (of course, why bother, it is a government business), the exit waitline for the remaining two half-capacity elevators was three hours long. There were no place for me to sit comfortably. I asked rangers to let me go ahead of the line showing my crutch, and I was told to stand just “like everyone else”. I guess it would be educational for them to break a hand?