A Breakfast Outing

Hey. Good Mornin’.

Yeah, I’m good.

No, not long. I just got here myself. Took the liberty of ordering you coffee. I figured you would probably – Sorry, one sec.

Yes, Ma’am, I’ll have the #1. But can I get that with hashbrowns instead?

Great.

Uh, sure, but on the side. Thank you.

Ok, now where was I? Oh, yeah. So, here’s the thing; today, of all days, I have something to confess. You might not notice it just by looking, but I’m different from most. It’s something you may have suspected for some time. Or maybe not. There are some subtle signs though, if you’re paying close attention.

Well, remember a couple of months ago, at the library, when you asked me why I was hooking my wrist that way? And then down at the pool-hall just last week, you laughed at how I kinda cocked my hip and twisted a little when I bent over to break. I brushed away your questions, but I am ready now to admit you were on to something. Then, there’s my fascination with the arts. All the arts, of course, but music and theater have been my main focus. Cliché, I know, but there it is. You know, there are tons of my kind in the arts. A lot of the really famous ones, too. Overall, we make-up about 7 to 10 percent of the general population, though the number probably doesn’t account much for people like me. We’re the hidden factor.

Well, of course you didn’t. How could you? It’s not like it’s not something I try to hide or deny. Not exactly. It’s just that I’ve been coerced into living a lie. So, it’s not so much repression as oppression. And I can remember exactly when it started, and who started it. It was my first grade teacher.

Yep, I knew that early. Well, I guess I didn’t know, per se. You just don’t think about those kinds of things as a child. But my teacher noticed immediately and went to great pains to correct it. I mean being in that situation, especially with all those kids who, you know, weren’t like me ­– it must have been obvious. My folks didn’t really notice before that and I’m not sure my teacher ever explicitly brought it to their attention, but when they did figure it out, they didn’t care. Hell, they were supportive! Which is surprising, since my father was an Air Force man and it’s not easy for my kind in the military, or anywhere else in society, for that matter. The world is setup for people like you.

Are you okay? Are you choking?

Waitress! Can we get a glass of water over here?

Are you sure you’re alright?

Ok, ok! Calm down! I’ll say it; today is International Left-Handers Day and I’m left-handed. I was turned right-handed during elementary school. That’s why I hook my wrist when I write.

Yes. That’s what I said. I’m left-handed. My dad first noticed when he taught me how to fire a BB gun. I was 6 or 7. He set up some old beer cans and put the gun in my right hand. I missed entirely and he realized I was aiming with my left eye. So, he told me to switch hands and – BLAM! 1, 2, 3! – I knocked those PBR cans right off of the tree limb. See, I’m also left-eye dominant, which is why I don’t stand quite right when I’m shooting pool; I’m trying to adjust my aim.

Ah. The military. Most pistols and rifles are made for right-handers who aim with their right eye. My dad could have chosen to change my hand dominance and it would have been understandable. But he didn’t. He might not have been thinking that far ahead, but I’m grateful nonetheless. Even now, I fire a pistol right-handed, though I aim with my left-eye. I’m a good shot, but my body twists a little, just like when I’m shooting pool. There’s this general awkwardness about me and I’m often frustrated because I don’t feel quite coordinated enough, even in the things I do well. It’s like practice can only take me so far because I’m working with a handicap someone else gave me.

Huh? Oh, the arts thing. Right. See, the hand/eye dominance means I’m extremely right-brained, which makes me very creative. There’s still a lot of debate in psychology about that kind of thing, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it does play a statistically significant part. I imagine my career choices make a little more sense now, huh?

Man, what is with you? You look like your doctor just told you your cancer is in remission. Good grief. What did you think I was talking about?

Oh. Oh, haha! No. No, I’m not gay. Not that I’d be ashamed if I was. What’s there to be ashamed about? I mean you can’t choose which gender you’re attracted to anymore than you can choose which eye or hand is dominant. Sure, I write with my right-hand now, thanks to that well-meaning but woefully shortsighted teacher. But so what? I’m still off. I feel it in my bones and no amount of conditioning is gonna change that. Look at it this way: Do you wake up in the morning and say, “I think I’ll be attracted to so-and-so today.”

Exactly. Of course you don’t. You’re either attracted to the person or you’re not. Now, you might grow to find someone attractive who you didn’t particularly fancy before, but the possibility has to already be there. It’s hard-wired in and, indefensible arguments of morality aside, any attempts to change such things will only leave the person feeling out-of-place and wrong somehow.

Oh, no, I wouldn’t dream of trying to compare the stigma of hand dominance with homosexuality. There is no Proposition 8 or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for lefties. And as far as I know, no southpaw has ever been beaten or stoned to death or imprisoned or thrown in a concentration camp simply for being left-handed. But my point has some validity. In the end, there is nothing worse in this world than to be at odds with your own being.

Dessert? Sure. Have you tried their Danish?

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About Buck O'Roon

Buck O'Roon [buhk oh-roon] –noun 1. a southerner of skeptical stripe, recognizable by his deeply furrowed brow and increasing lack of patience for institutionalized horse manure 2. curmudgeon-in-training
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