LEFT, RIGHT, AND THE OTHER

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[This story, written by Anonymous, was published in the NCAI Eagle Eye, a high school newspaper.  I am reprinting it here with permission.  There were hints and suggestions, but remember: just because Peter Parker gets good photos of him doesn’t mean he knows Spiderman.]

 

Far away, in a galaxy long ago, there lived a People of the Left Hand.  They were all left-handed.  They threw with their left and ate with their left.  They led with the left. An honorable agreement required a shaking of left hands.  To sit on the Master’s left was the seat of greatest honor.

Everyone knew that right-handed people existed.  They’d heard of them, they had friends whose relatives had friends of relatives who were right-handed.  It wasn’t that right-handed people were worse than anyone else, exactly, because every good lefty knew that no one is perfect, and acknowledging ones imperfections was part of being a good person.

But being right was wrong.  Right-handed people were not just different.  Somehow, their imperfection was different than everyone else’s imperfection.  More inherently imperfect.  

If there were right-handed people who chose to make their left hands dominant, who learned to write left-slant cursive and toss water balloons southpaw, who could criticize? They were doing their best, right?

So there was never anything officially, explicitly written about righties, because they simply were not…seen.  Or heard. They weren’t calling attention to themselves.

But they were discussed.  Sometimes with a joke, sometimes as a prohibitive example or cautionary tale.  “Righty” was slang for nothing nice.  No one who paid the least attention would mistake the general view toward Right Siders as anything other than “Don’t.”

Once, as the day continued its course and the lefteous carried on leftly, a man happened to travel that way.  He smiled at people, looked them in the eye, and asked questions.  He listened to their answers.

Some called him an idiot.  Some described him as enjoying a good time a little too much. And some even accused him of trying to treat right-handed people like everyone else. That may have been his most offensive offense.

He told this story:

“In a holy building, a well-respected Left Hander prayed, ‘Thank you, Master, that you have made me as me.  Thank you that I am not a plagiarist, a guy who cheats on his girlfriend, and especially not like that Right Hander back there.  I am doing what I should left down the line.’

But the Right Hander was praying, too.  He didn’t stand in the center of the holy building or close to the front.  He huddled in a corner by the door.  He stared at his shoes and avoided eye contact.  And he prayed, ‘Mercy.  Just mercy.  Please.  I need it.'”

The Traveling Man concluded, “And would you ever guess it?  The Master smiled upon the Right inclined and not the Left.  Why?  Because any Left who boasts he’s not right is wrong, while the Right who knows he’s wrong won’t be left.’”

And that wasn’t okay to say.  The people who heard it expressed their disapproval; they did so by ripping him into smaller pieces.

And that’s the end of the story.

Except it’s not.

Because even though this story didn’t happen here and now, we still have to answer two questions:

What type of folks do we consider right-handed?

Do we know any of them?

 

Also, the Traveling Man came back whole, but that’s a longer story.

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