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Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.). However, the left-handed whopper had “all condiments rotated 180 degrees, thereby redistributing the weight of the sandwich so that the bulk of the condiments will skew to the left, thereby reducing the amount of lettuce and other toppings from spilling out the right side of the burger.”  Jim Watkins, vice president for marketing at Burger King, was quoted as saying that the new sandwich was the ultimate ‘Have It Your Way’ for our left-handed customers. The advertisement then noted that the left-handed Whopper would initially only be available in the United States, but that the company was “considering plans to roll it out to other countries with large left-handed populations.” The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own ‘right handed’ version.”

But Burger King was certainly on to something.  For left-handers are on the rise.  After hovering around 3% of the population for the last couple of centuries their number has now quadrupled to 12% .  The main reason for this appears to be acceptance.   In the past, children born with a preference for the left hand were  often parentally demanded to learn to use their right hand instead (often with corporal punishment as part of the switch-over enforcement process).  It was a right-hander’s world  in so many professions (especially machinery) and mothers and fathers believed that they were doing the right (pardon the pun) thing for their children, not wanting them to be left (pardon the pun again) out of the job market.  I certainly recall the effort made to turn me from a left-hander to a right-hander, but eventually my parents and teachers just gave up.

And it’s not as if there still aren’t left-handed challenges today (scissors, can-openers, desks, spiral notebooks, ring binders, pens, ice-cream scoops. card swipes, measuring cups, message cups, mouse pads, stick-shifts, video game-pads, knives, guitars, zippers, rulers, keyboards, kitchen utensils, pocket knifes, circular saws,  pruners, tape measures, tool belts, check-book holders, etc.)   But at least there are now products on the market especially made for lefties.

The bottom line?  No one has come up with a definitive scientific reason as to why the vast majority of people are right-handed and the vast minority of people are left-handed.  But we do know that the brain divides into two halves and what side dominates determines what hand we use.  And oddly enough, it works in opposites.  So if the left-side of the brain dominates, then we become right-handed.  And if the right side of the brain dominates, then we become left-handed.  So if you or your child(ren) is a born southpaw, remember, only left-handers are in their right minds!


● Imagine the centre of your back is itching. Which hand do you scratch it with? … ● Interlock your fingers. Which thumb is uppermost? … ● Imagine you are applauding. Start clapping your hands. Which hand is uppermost? … ● Wink at an imaginary friend straight in front of you. Which eye does the winking? … ● Put your hands behind your back, one holding the other. Which hand is doing the holding? … ● Someone in front of you is shouting, but you cannot hear the words. Cup your ear to hear better. Which ear do you cup? … ● Count to three on your fingers, using the forefinger of the other hand. Which forefinger do you use? … ● Tilt your head over on to one shoulder. Which shoulder does it touch? … ● Fixate a small distant object with your eyes and point directly at it with your forefinger. Now close one eye. Now change eyes. Which eye was open when the fingertip remained in line with the small object, right or left? … ● Fold your arms. Which forearm is uppermost?