I’m left-handed. It’s not my fault. It’s my version of normal.
In Latin, left is Sinister (making me sinister-handed) whereas right is Dexter (making everyone else dexterous by comparison).
It’s claimed that left-handed people have greater access to the right-hand side of the brain, making them creative, holistic, non-linear thinkers, prone to expressing their emotions in colourful ways and often brighter than the people around them.
In other words, left-handed people are weird, loud-mouthed, annoying and unrepentantly different. No wonder they are only 12% of the population, any more than that and the world would be in chaos.
I would like to live a left-handed life: hanging out doing cool creative stuff for the fun of it. Sadly, I live in a right-handed world that expects me to be dexterous: starting in the morning and working through to the evening, taking a logical, disciplined approach to my work and gaining a sense of satisfaction from my ever-diminishing To Do List.
Not being dexterous is inherently sinister.
I have learnt to fake Dexterity. My days, weeks and months are scheduled in advance. I set (and mostly meet) deadlines. I chair meetings. I write templates for logical decision-making.
But it’s not me. Not really. I see the Dexterous me as my Clarke Kent disguise. I’d like to think that when Clarke rips his shirt open, the S he reveals actually stands for Sinister.
The real me has days when I’m inspired and days when I should just go home. The real me works things out rapidly at an intuitive level and then has to come up with an ex-post rationalization to get other people to buy-in to my answers. The real me sees deadlines as a broad expression of intent, meant to keep other people happy.
The real me is not someone I would take to a job interview.
So what would the Sinister me do if he could slip the corporate leash?
The question, with its emphasis on doing comes from a Dexter mindset.
Sinster me is more about being than doing. He has an almost insatiable appetite for videos, books, and chasing chains of fascinating but useless facts on the internet. He’s not prone to having role models but he does feel a sense of kinship with those cultural figures that the Dexters see as mischief makers: Loki from Norse mythology who none of the men trusted but all the women liked (including Thor’s wife who he got to know rather too well); or Kokopelli, the well-hung hunchback flute player of Hopi myth who men think of as a trickster but women remember with a smile.
I have found that I cannot keep the Sinister me bound for an entire working day. I have to provide him with outlets or there will be trouble. Most often this surfaces as humour during meetings.
At one time I had to give the same training course over and over. If I was a Dexter I would have felt more confident and relaxed with each repetition. Being a Sinister, I felt stifled to the point of losing the will to live. To fend off a descent into chaos that would have blown my Dexter cover, I set myself a challenge: before every course I would browse a bookshop and find a book title that had to be incorporated into the next day’s training. I think the most memorable title was a Star Trek book called “Why You Should Never Beam Down in a Red Shirt”.
This blog also belongs to the Sinister me. It is his outlet, his escape. Yet it is the Dexter me who feels the need to keep the posts coming and get the tagging and indexing right.