The Devil’s Left HandPosted: March 14, 2014
I went to Catholic school for the first few years. One of the most vivid memories I have of that experience is from my first grade class room.
We were practicing writing. The boy in front of me was left-handed. The nun who was our teacher came by and cracked the back of his hand with a ruler and told him to use his other hand. He swapped hands. Unfortunately, each time she stopped our practice to teach another letter we had to put our pencils down. And when the nun instructed us to pick them back up, my classmate’s natural tendency took over. He’d take up his pencil in his left hand.
Over and over this poor kid would pick up his pencil in his left hand after a pause and the nun would hit him. I don’t remember much of what she taught that day. I just remember learning gratitude; I thanked God I wasn’t born left-handed.
In high school, I took Italian. One of the very few things I learned was that the Italian word for the left side was sinistro. The teacher explained that sinistro was the root of the word sinister. At the time the language was developing, the left side was presumed to be evil.
The other day I found out that my left hand is truly evil.
I went out to lunch. As I left, I followed another customer out of the restaurant. This other gentleman had a plate with two slices of pizza in one hand and a drink in the other. I wondered what sort of person drives down the street while they eat pizza; I did not plan to punish him for his messy and dangerous driving habits.
Yet Somehow He Got Punished
We got to the door and he shoved it open with his shoulder. In retrospect, I realize that he didn’t know I was behind him and his plan was to step around the door as it closed behind him. He didn’t know I was behind him and that my left hand had sinister plans for him.
When the door opened wide, I reached out to hold it open. The gentleman with his hands full was looking to his right, but turned to his left to go around the door he presumed had closed behind him. It had not. I held the door in place and he smacked in to it. He dropped his soda, but saved his pizza. I hadn’t planned to punish him for his messy and dangerous driving habits. My sinister left hand got the job done without a plan.
As he recovered, he looked to understand where his plan had gone awry. I gave him a sheepish shrug. The shrug worked. The man seemed to realize that I didn’t intend to make him collide with the door. We both knew it was the fault of The Devil’s Left Hand.
It was cool of him to be so understanding. I’ll bet he was that kid from first grade.