Tuesday, December 6, 2011
‘Mixed-handed’? That’s what I am?
I read an article today that placed me squarely in a 1% group. It was an odd sensation, it doesn’t exactly happen to me every day. With all the discussion around the “Occupy” protests of late, I associated the 1% label with this movement right away, naturally. So, I thought it would be interesting to look at some numbers, even though this has little to do with the article I read. I just completed my MBA and started a great corporate finance job at Symantec, one of the world’s largest software firms. I live in Silicon Valley and I love my life. You could say I can relate better now than I could before to what it’s like to be the 1%. I honestly had no idea if my current education or income level would land me in a 1% group, so I wanted to find out. Well, it turns out that 9.9% of Americans have a graduate or professional degree, so my MBA doesn’t set me apart from the masses quite as much as I expected. Additionally, to be in the top 1% of income, I would have to make $344 K (as reported by the IRS in 2009) and I’m not there. Yet. I suppose if we zoomed out to a global view I would land in the top 1% in both categories, but that doesn’t much matter because I’m a member of another 1% group: mixed-handedness. Wait, mixed-handedness? (Kind of a chore to say, but I guess it works.) You mean one of those people who do different things with each hand – sharing roles? Yep. Go ahead and say it (“weird. . .”), I’ve heard it before. Not in a hey-mom-look-at-the-creepy-carnie sort of weird, but different from what most people can relate to nevertheless. It surprises people when I tell them I’m kind of ambidextrous. Since I write and eat left-handed, I frequently get asked if I’m a lefty, to which I respond “kind of” and briefly outline that I write, eat, and shave with my left hand, but play sports, use scissors, knife, and mouse with my right. I get most confused with a serving spoon – it goes both ways. I also have memories of using scissors with my left hand as a child, but switching when I got tired of always trying to find a pair of left-handed scissors. Shooting and dribbling a basketball with my left hand and kicking a soccer ball with my left foot came fairly easy. So, while I think it’s safe to say I’m one of these mixed-handed folks, I am a bit more left-dominant in general. Now on to what prompted this blog post in the first place. The Wall Street Journal published an article today entitled The Health Risks of Being Left-Handed. That got my attention (wouldn’t it get yours?). Good job, WSJ. I read it. Voraciously. It intrigued me to learn that 10% of people are left-handed, 1% are mixed-handed, lefties make about 10% less, 6 of the last 12 presidents were left-handed, and that lefties are more prone to undesirable conditions such as schizophrenia, dyslexia, and ADHD (what the. . .!!). Nice little roller coaster of positive and not so positive, huh? Check out this quote from near the beginning of the article: “Other recent research suggests that mixed-handedness—using different hands for daily tasks and not having a dominant one—may be even more strongly linked than left-handedness to ADHD and possibly other conditions.” Hey! Wanna ride a bike?! Squirrel! One potential cause of the brain developing in such a way as to not be one of the standard right-handed population is extreme levels of stress during pregnancy. So what did I do? I immediately texted my mom.