hey there, lefty

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 8.36.07 PMYesterday was my mum’s birthday. You know, the woman that comments almost daily on my blog and never fails to offer her infinite wisdom to me and my readers? It was also the day that I decided to crack open Issue 13 of Kinfolk Magazine, otherwise known as The Imperfect Issue

This issue read much differently than other Kinfolk issues. It was filled with arbitrary knowledge, the history of mistakes, and many, many twins. It began with a quote by Leonard Cohen (a rather brilliant quote about imperfection), and ended with an article on left-handedness. My mum is left-handed, and so I immediately thought of her when I saw and subsequently read the article. Not just because it was her birthday, but because she, too, is awesome and unique.

This post is for my mum.



“There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 8.36.23 PMA Letter From Lefty

Dear Mr. Right,

My sincerest apologies in advance if you struggle to read this note, if not for its radical honesty then for the fact that my fountain pen’s ink is smudging across the paper.

As the Thelma to your Louise, I’d like to tell you a little about life on my side of the vertical equator. After all, there are upsides to being a southpaw.

While only one in ten humans is a lefty, there’s a lopsided contingent that has made history. For every left-handed psychopath such as Jack the Ripper or Alexander the Great, there has been a genius counterpart in Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci. Since the end of WWII, more than half of the US presidents have been left-handed – including Obama and Clinton – and there are a disproportionate number of us among Mensa’s ranks. We may be potential sorcerers to the Inuit and cursed to the Moroccans, but we’re also healers to the Incas and luck-filled to the Zuni.

It’s no surprise that my moniker’s etymology isn’t in my favour either. Why do women never seek Mr. Left? Why does a leader have his right-hand man but the uncoordinated have two left feet? And to expands beyond the Queen’s english: The Italians share one word for both sinister and left, as well as treacherous and left-handed, and the word for clumsy in German refers to us too. Even the term ambidextrous comes from the Latin word “to be right on both sides.” I’ll never win.

Everything in this world that was built for your palms is a challenge we must surmount. Scissors that don’t cut. Can openers that don’t open. Computer mice that don’t click. Power tools that risk accidental catastrophic hemorrhages. We knock elbows when eating at tables and poke eyes with bows when playing in orchestras. Even the humble handshake is in your favour.

However, there are aspects of life where we do have an advantage. The left side of the body is controlled bu the right side of the brain, but we use the left’s neurons more on a day-to-day basis. Because of this daily communication, it means we form stronger neural pathways between the hemispheres, making us quicker decision makers, faster processors and better multitasks. And it goes beyond the cranial too: With 3,400 words to be typed solely using the left hand versus 450 words with the right, we’re faster typists. We don’t have to swap our forks to our eating hand when cutting up and consuming dinner. With our proclivity to choose the left line over the right, we spend less time standing in lines by default (even Disneyland officials say so). We adapt to seeing underwater more clearly. We’re less likely to get arthritis or ulcers.

But quirkiness aside, shall I tell you what’s ultimately in our favour? Evolution.

If we were really at a disadvantage, Darwin’s theory of natural selection would have cast us off eons ago. But here we still are. And why? Combat. That’s correct – if it came down to you and me in a fight fight, evolution has determined that I’ll always have the slightest advantage. When you were growing up as a Neanderthal more than 400,000 years ago, you became more acquainted with duelling with right-handers. So when a lefty suddenly jumped out of a cave and confronted your tribe, each jab we threw came at a surprising angle and gave us the proverbial upper hand. It’s what makes us better baseball batters and Olympic fencers, and it’s the reason nature has deemed us worthy of biological selection. In the long term, it is I who will reign.

So what do you say, Mr. Right? Can we shake on this?



by Georgia Frances King

nap diaries

IMG_1.jpgIssue ten of Kinfolk Magazine featured an article that was entitled ‘A Guide to Napping’. In it, the writer stated her case for taking short but well-deserved naps in the middle of the day. I am just in love with this article, almost as much as I am with naps.

I am an avid napper. I have been for as long as I can remember. Years ago while I was still in high school, I would have just over an hour’s time between the end of the school day and before I had to go to my part-time job. I would spend that time having a quick bath with the lights out, and napping in the tub for about 20 minutes. It was the one consistent enjoyment that I looked forward to each and everyday. Now, over a decade later and with having to work 4 jobs, I find myself sneaking a nap whenever I possibly can. They do not last long, and can occur anytime between 11 am to 8 pm, but they are essential to keeping my energy up and my sanity in check. I wholly believe in nap-taking, and that it should be embraced in North America rather than frowned upon or viewed as a form of laziness. If we aren’t hurting anyone by taking them, then what’s the harm? You can decide for yourselves.



“A Guide to Napping” – by Georgia Frances King


There’s a scientific reason why you get a little groggy after lunchtime: Your natural melatonin level (the hormone that controls your sleep cycle and makes you drowsy) spikes between noon and 4 p.m., making you prone to weariness. Combined with a post-lunch energy sap while you digest, that’s when you start getting the yawns. Nap time! Just don’t do any dozing four hours before you’re planning to nod off for the night, as it’ll disrupt your dreams.

“Less is more” is a mantra also applied to napping. If you surpass the half-hour mark then you risk falling into stage 3 or 4 sleep, meaning you’ll wake up more groggy and irritable than you started. Twenty minutes is the perfect restorative snooze time, or if you really need the shut-eye, go through a full 90-minute sleep cycle so you bounce to REM sleep and back.

Drinking coffee before attempting to nod off may seem counterintuitive but recent studies have suggested it could be the perfect power nap utility. If you drink a strong cup of joe and then take a nap immediately afterward, the caffeine will kick in after your ideal 20-minute sleepytime. This will wake you up naturally and jolt you out of a post-snooze daze.

While couches and park benches are optimal nap territory, you can also reap the same benefits with your head on your desk or your feet on the dashboard. Or, as weird as it sounds, even a non-occupied, recently cleaned toilet cubicle can provide ten minutes of poorly lit snoozedom.

Although dorky eye masks are best left to long plane flights, napping in a darkened room allows you to fall asleep faster by boosting your melatonin production. To wake up more quickly afterward, do the opposite and sit in the sun for five minutes—the light will help diminish those same levels and reduce tiredness.

We’re not suggesting you stow an inflatable mattress, frothed milk and a binky under your desk, but keeping some napping supplies such as a small pillow, a blanket (as your temperature drops while sleeping) and earplugs can do wonders.

Before dozing, eating anything high in magnesium such as bananas or almonds will relax your muscles (bananas also contain tryptophan, which helps convert melatonin, as do dairy products). Miso soup and other foods high in amino acids also aid melatonin production and anything loaded with protein will likewise help you stay asleep.

Naturally, the idea of sleeping on the job may not impress most supervisors, but how can so many grandpas (and Spanish siesta-ers) have it wrong? A quick power nap has been proven to increase alertness and fine motor skills, boost creativity and can reduce the risk of heart disease by 37 percent. If your bosses aren’t keen on the idea, then tell them the Ministry for Health in France has considered creating a 15-minute legal nap break to boost national productivity. Oui. 


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