Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I've heard that genuine ambidexterity in humans is relatively rare, but I've read so little about the subject, I know virtually nothing about it. Neurologists have probably discovered some fascinating things on the subject.

One of my brothers is ambidextrous. He writes with his right hand, plays baseball left-handed, for example. He can do many things with equal acumen with either hand. Because he batted left-handed, he taught me to hit the baseball left-handed, from the right side of the plate. Therefore, I was one of those rare baseball players who "bats left, throws right" as they used to say on baseball cards. Otherwise, I was not a rare baseball player, if you get my drift. On my best day, I went 3-for-3, with one walk, and no errors in the outfield. Cool.

I am also a left-handed golfer, and a terrible one; nonetheless, I have a special interest in the careers of Bob Charles (retired now, I believe) and Phil Mickelson. The interesting thing about left-handed golfers is that they're not simply the mirror image of right-handed ones. They look different. Mickelson leans a certain way on putts and the short game that reveals he's left-handed. He wouldn't lean that way (even if it were the opposite way) if her were right-handed; that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.

From my strictly amateur observations, cats appear to be ambidextrous--part of that fearful symmetry, I reckon, that Blake noticed.

Ambidextrous Cats

The ambidexterity of cats is a pleasure to watch,
like spats on feet of fabulous tap-dancers. Cats
have an answer for any motion they see. Sometimes
the response is just alert stasis. Other times, the
chase is on. Often two or more feet, claws unsheathed,
are involved effectively, symmetrically. The tail
gets bushy--"fat," we say. And hey, the whiskers
twitch. With precision, cats seize the which
that moved into view, using two paws equally.

Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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