A Talk with my Left Thumb

This morning my left thumb objected to helping me peel a boiled egg.  She pointed out that in more than 70 years she had avoided that peeling motion and saw no reason to start now.

I said, “Right Thumb is injured.  You could help, couldn’t you?”

She said, “That is such a small injury.  A little crack under the side of the nail.  You never see me complaining like that.”

“You would if you were sore.”

“What would make me sore?  All this time you’ve only asked me to hold things while she peels.”

“Come on, Left.  Be a sport.”

“Oh, all right.  But I’m not very good at that motion.  Get ready to witness an awkward attempt.”

Left thumb and I did manage to peel the egg.  But minutes later I asked her to help me use a pair of scissors.

“No way.  Those are right-handed scissors and I’m not going near them.”

“Yes, they are right-handed scissors,” I agreed, “but you can manage.  Just press a bit to the left to make the cut work.”

“Look, Right Thumb can do scissors.  She only has to go in through the thumb hole.  No pressure on her sore spot.”

“But I want you to help me trim the loose threads off her band aid.”

“Oh, so now you want me to do her work and trim her band aid.”

“You two have always worked as a team.  Why the complaining?”

“Just trying to keep the job description clear.  I hold the fork.  I hold the pen.  I help play the piano.  Team work, sure.  And I’m used to it.  But Right Thumb jobs are off my list.”

“Can’t you at least hit the space bar when I’m typing.  Right Thumb sends me an ouch at every hit.”

“Sorry.  Couldn’t possibly get into that space bar habit.  You think the keyboard is a ten digit job, but it’s not.  Nine digits do all the work.  I hang out in mid-air.  I cheer.”

“I never noticed that before.  You mean, all this time you’re been floating and goofing?”

“Yep.  And you never caught on until – how old are you?”

“I guess I’ve given you a free ride on keyboard tasks.  Also, cleaning the bathroom sink and toilet.  Thank you for helping me with those chores this morning.   Even though you grumbled.”

“I was insulted.  First time you ever asked me to get into the toilet boil.  Pee-you!”

“Now you know the service Right Thumb has given.”

“You know what I snuck by you?  All these years they’ve called you left-handed, only because I do the fork and the pen.  I don’t throw balls.  I don’t scrub pans.  There’s a lot I never do.  I expect you were always a little dyslectic, starting at the right and moving your eyes left the way you do.  You’re just lucky no one labeled you.  You might have been down on yourself.  As it is, you think you are a slow reader because of taking time to feel the feelings and think the thoughts.  But, not being over busy, I have had years to observe.  You try to read from the right to the left.”

“And all these years you never told me?”

“I wanted you to think you could do anything.”

“Thank you.  And I want you to think you can do anything.”

“Touche.”

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Author: Patricia Mitchell Lapidus

Anyone may walk down the road wondering who we are, how we are supposed to live, and what happens when we die. Some folks like traditional answers. Some folks don't want to spent their time thinking too much. I felt called upon to search these questions in depth and in some surprising places. Each of my books is a story or group of stories about what I found during a wide-ranging journey. My home state of Maine was a hard place to leave. But I knew I had to go. And if I didn't make it back home to Maine except to visit, I did find home in the comfort and joy of discoveries that washed away the pain that had started me on my travels.

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