In San Francisco, the home of Red Room, they are holding the U.S. Open this week, and the marquee group the first two days, the stars of the stars, includes two lefthanders, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson, and one righty, Tiger Woods.
Why, it’s the same thing as if you had a panel of three writers, and they were those famous lefties Marshall McLuhan and Germaine Greer, and you stuck a righty in there, say Hemingway or Woody Allen.
Which brings us to the point: golf and writing have a lot in common. For decades now _ in the case of writing, centuries actually – both have tried to turn lefties into righties and were, for a very long time, ``successful’’ at doing just that.
I mean, if you look into it, you don’t really know if Moliere and Marlowe and Fitzgerald weren’t really lefties who had teachers for decades rap their knuckles with a ruler until, their fingers bleeding and raw, they switched to their right hands.
This is no exaggeration, by the way: lefties have some gruesome tales of assaults on their left hands, including having them bound behind their backs. By the way, because of this, you can’t tell if a person who writes right-handed is really right-handed or a lefty ``converted’’ to her other hand.
As to golf, some reasons left-handers were changed to the right side included the unavailability of quality golf equipment for lefthanders; right-handed teachers too lazy or uncreative to figure out a way to teach lefthanders, or simple intolerance.
In a golden age of sports, when only an idiot would have wanted to switch Babe Ruth or Reggie Jackson to the right side of the plate or make Rod Laver or Martina Navratilova hit a tennis ball righty, left-handed golfers were accused of ``standing on the wrong side of the ball,’’ as if a ball had sides.
You can compare that to the situation in writing, in which lefthanders were originally thought to be evil but, as we became more civilized, the charge was reduced to merely smearing their papers during penmanship exercises.
I don’t suppose, once they reached maturity and success, James Michener or James Baldwin or Peter Benchley were attacked for smearing their writing paper. I mean, it’s ``Tales of the South Pacific’’ and ``Go Tell It On the Mountain’’ and ``Jaws,’’ for heaven’s sake.
Of course, maybe they typed their manuscripts. Which brings us to today and computers. The mouse is on the right side. You can place it on the left side, but then you likely have a cord running over the keyboard or around your coffee cup. More discrimination, but lefties are used to dealing with it.
Now about that panel of McLuhan and Greer and Hemingway. I can’t imagine Hemingway getting a word in with those two talking.
In the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods, a quiet type anyway, won’t have much to say and, considering the importance of the tournament, Mickelson and Bubba may not either. But even in a less important tournament, Woods would be more reticent with not only his playing partners, but also the galleries.
Actually, Mickelson is a righty-lefty, a natural right-hander playing left-handed (This is not good, just as bad as a lefty playing right-handed. I am convinced, after years as a sports writer and, especially, a golf writer, that athletes who switch from their natural side face a very real threat of their bodies breaking down at an early age. Mickelson may have only a few years of productive golf left.)
Bubba, on the other hand, is a true lefty. He’s also unpredictable, voluble at times, so that plays a bit to the stereotype of lefties being zany. I don’t know if they are any more zany that righties, but he’s definitely zanier than Tiger, who’s very unzany. One thing about Bubba, though, he hits the ball farther than almost anyone – and with a PINK driver!
Of course, who knows, maybe Lewis Carroll and Hans Christian Anderson used PINK quill pens when writing all those stories. Those lefties.
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...