I am a member of an oppressed minority.

I have known this for a long time, but recently came across a smoking gun — or at least a smoldering gun — irrefutable evidence of the calloused underbelly of our culture’s indifference to those who are different. Click on this image for the full size to see what I mean:


There it is, right in the middle of the page: Being left-handed is a defect like being lame, having ring worm or a wen.

That is taken from Pedro Carolino’s English as She Is Spoke, published in 1855. As the book’s back cover states, Pedro had a fine purpose: to create a Portuguese-to-English phrasebook for students and others. The only problem was that he didn’t know any English. He did, however, have a Portuguese-to-French dictionary and a French-to-English dictionary. Problem solved.

Some samples of Pedro’s work:

Speaking of some delectable fruits: Esses damáscos ê pêcegos fázem-me vir água á bôca is translated as These apricots and these peaches make me and to come water in mouth.

In an angry mood: Moer-vos-hêi ôu moêl-ohêi ás pancádas means I should kill-you to the blows with a stick.

I’d like to be this guy: Elle requébra tôdas âs mulhéres comes out as He caresses all women.

Sínto rumor means I understand some noise. Indeed.

But not to be diverted from our serious theme: the Oppression of Left-handers by Society. I draw your attention to manual can openers, most scissors, and the computer mouse, all of which are designed with right-handers in mind.

According to an encyclopedia: “the English word sinister comes from the Latin word sinestra, which originally meant ‘left’ but took on meanings of ‘evil’ or ‘unlucky’ by the Classical Latin era.” That hurts.

On the other hand, while only ten percent of the general population is left-handed — of the last fourteen Presidents of the United States, half have been lefties.

Evil or unlucky indeed.

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