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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000807.txt from 2003/06

From: "Lelia Loban" <>
Subj: [kl] Left, Right or mixed handed?
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 09:01:25 -0400

I wrote,
>Neither-handed: equally clumsy with both front paws,
>though I prefer to do many specific tasks with either
>one hand or the other, probably because I first learned
>to do those tasks by imitating someone.

Christy Erickson asked,
>>Lelia, So are you saying you are ambidextrous or just
>>have very mixed preferences?

I'm not sure. I'm 55 years old and don't clearly remember the process of
learning the really basic stuff, so I'm not certain how much of the
learning process was monkey see, monkey do and how much of it was truly
based on some inborn preference. My parents think I'm ambidextrous. Since
my family includes both left-handers and right-handers, my parents didn't
assume I'd be one or the other, and deliberately avoided coaching me. For
instance, when I got old enough to stop eating like a raccoon, they put a
spoon and a fork in the middle of my dish, with the handles toward me, and
waited to see which hand I'd favor. I never did choose one or the other.
I picked up with the left or the right apparently at random, and still do.
That may be an indication of true ambidextrousness. (I did learn that the
spoon is more efficient than the fork for throwing wet, sloppy food,
however, while the fork works better than the spoon for tossing big chunks,
so I didn't entirely lack preferences.)

But my folks may have *commented* on my apparent ambidextrousness in an
admiring way, and that makes me suspicious, because I do clearly remember
that, as a toddler, I got the impression that being ambidextrous was cool.
I remember teaching myself to draw and do some things both-handed so that I
could show off (i.e., display what an obnoxious little geek I was...), or
so that I could gain an advantage by pretending to be a rightie or a leftie
until strangers had had time to observe me; then I'd switch (useful for
fighting, baseball and playing pool, especially--won some money at U. C.
Berkeley, even though I'm not a very good pool shooter, until the regulars
in the pool hall got wise to me). Learning the piano from an early age and
then the clarinet no doubt reinforced the neither-handedness. As a stained
glass designer-builder, I may have saved myself from carpal tunnel syndrome
by teaching myself to alternate between my left and my right hand when
cutting and grinding glass, to minimize the wear and tear on wrist
ligaments, because I knew that wrist injuries put a lot of stained glass
artists out of business. This late in my life, it's probably not possible
to sort out whether my non-handedness is instinctive or learned.

Lelia Loban
Web site (original music scores as audio or print-out):

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