I write and eat right-handed. I throw left-handed. I kick left-footed. This is known as mixed-handedness, or cross-dominance.
Now please note that ambidexterity—considerable fine motor skill with either side—is a rare form of cross-dominance, but it’s not what I’m talking about. I mean I write with my right and can’t with my left. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to someone “I write and eat right-handed, but I throw left-handed” and the person has replied “Oh, you’re ambidextrous!” Uh, no.
(Before we leave ambidexterity, speaking of it—and tremendous mental capacity, I’m sure—did you know that President Garfield could write Latin with one hand and ancient Greek with the other simultaneously?)
Okay, then. I discovered today that I have a colleague who is also mixed-handed (exactly opposite from me, though). That I can recall, she’s the only other person I’ve ever known who is mixed-handed.
So then that got me to wondering how rare it is. Turns out it’s uncommon, but not particularly hard to encounter. There are millions of us. Know who else was mixed-handed, though? Check out this list:
- Ludwig van Beethoven
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Albert Einstein
- Benjamin Franklin
The B-list, still quite impressive, includes Nikola Tesla, Jimi Hendrix, Oscar Wilde, and Richard Feynman.
I suddenly believe that I have, to date, massively underachieved.