We are all born right handed; only the best of us can beat it.

Picture the scene; it is a cold, frosty early nineties December morning and you are looking at a small suburban primary school. Moving in closer, you can see the six and seven year olds sitting around the miniature tables and flecks of tissue paper sitting in pools of glue where they are attempting the gargantuan task of creating snowflakes, paper chains and other Christmas decorations. All of which, incidentally, invokes every adult to coo appropriately just before throwing them immediately in the bin. In the midst of the children sits a little girl, whose glitter and glue coated hands are clasped uselessly around some now grubby paper and a pair of safety scissors. The paper has now stuck itself to the little girl’s hands and is now torn and bereft of its decorative beauty. But this doesn’t matter because no matter how hard she tries, she cannot cut that clean, sharp line through the paper, slicing it in neatly in half. She holds the scissors in her left hand, but alas the blade is set upside down this way. She must either get someone else to cut it for her or she will have to suffice with an inferior creation. She cannot join in. A few days later, the class is learning to write and this little girl is struggling no end. She is trying to follow the teachers’ instructions, but she cannot work out how to replicate the letters. She tries turning the paper sideways, which allows her more space to curve her pencil round and craft the letters, but then the teacher comes along, straightens the paper and tells her that she must make her work neater. She looks at the letters earnestly, bites her bottom lip and tries again. This will keep happening to her as she goes through her school life; teachers try desperately to get them to tidy up their writing, but not really knowing how to help. As she moves from the pencil (whose lead is so oft snapped from the heavy pressing from the little girl’s left hand) to the pen, she encounters a whole new set of problems; as she writes, the palm of her hand covers the freshly penned ink. It would take a good few weeks for her to work out how to write without getting ink coated hands and her life’s work illegibly smudged. Eventually, the little girl will establish a writing style and work out how to write in a legible way, but it will take her a great deal more time than the other “normal” boys and girls. As the little girl grows older and she moves to secondary school, she finds herself having to take sports lessons and it is here that she finds more prejudice. She will always have to stand at the far end of the line when throwing the javelin or discus in order to prevent any untimely accidents. Equally, she will have to wait until the end of the lesson before she is allowed to practice a lay-up in basketball as all of the cones have to be changed to the alternate direction. It is tales such as these and many others, which begin to show you how difficult it can be to be different. Most kids would have adapted and given up trying to survive as a leftie in a right-handed world, but this little girl didn’t know how. She wears her watch on her right wrist, plays tennis with her left hand, always has the element of surprise in a game of rounders and her writing is like that of a doctor. She has learnt to cope and has overcome adversity in a way that no right hander has managed – they do not realise the struggles inherent in opening a can of baked beans, of being taught sports and musical instruments by a right handed person or of trying to write a cheque in a normal chequebook. The left handed people of the world have had a lot of stick over the years with many modern languages translating the words wrong or evil as a synonym of left. (I bet David Cameron loved that!) Modern day slang for being left handed is “cack handed”, which sounds fine until you remember that cack basically means shit. They believed that left handedness could cause stuttering, dyslexia and schizophrenia. Some doctors still believe this stuff today; the modern quacks think that we are more likely to get breast cancer and allergies. For years, children were beaten and made to sit on their left hand at school so as to change them to a conventional and “normal” child. It seems strange that people felt so strongly that people should be right handed that they beat it out of our left handed forefathers (and mothers.) So why did they feel so strongly? Were they threatened by us? Damned right they were; people of the left handed persuasion are said to use the artistic side of our brain far more than the rest of you. Not only do we have more access to our creativity, but we are also natural leaders and strive for independence. Only 10% of the population is left handed, yet 4 out of the 5 Apple Mac designers were left handed and 66% of the American Presidents of the past 30 years have been lefties. Most of the best people in the world are left handed; Barack Obama, David Cameron, Rafael Nadal, Dan Aykroyd, Emma Thompson, Sue Perkins, Julian Clary, Jonathan Ross, John McEnroe and most famously, Maradona! As I say, it’s great to be left handed – there aren’t many of us, but most of them have made it to the top of their field. If you are left handed, don’t let the majority oppress you. Don’t let them stop the revolution that us lefties will bring; we are what they fear most and never forget that!

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How do you play the Game of Life?

One of the things that is definite about modern life is that if you create something that captures the public’s imagination, the remakes, spin offs and franchises will fund you well into your retirement. For some reason, unbeknown to me, the American audiences are unable to watch the original British version of something; they need it to be remade especially for them. Do they not know how much we lived off American sitcoms as teenagers? Watching the new series of Friends was such a ritual – it was played on Sky a month or so earlier than it was on Channel 4. I clearly remember that Hannah’s next door neighbours had Sky, so they would record it onto a video for Hannah and then we would all borrow it after her. Sure, there were some jokes that we wouldn’t fully appreciate because they mentioned places in America that we may not know, but it was all about watching people from a different culture. We were able to believe that six friends could live this affluent lifestyle and do nothing but drink coffee in America. Had it been in England, we may not have believed it. Anyhow, many tv shows have been remade: The Office, Teachers, Life on Mars and very nearly, Spaced.

Some of our best loved stories have been remade for film; I ask you, how many more remakes of Sherlock Holmes do we need? It has nearly caught up with Robin Hood now. We saw how mad Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) got when they thought their beloved baby was being pilfered from under their noses, so think how old Shakespeare must feel. His plots have been used from here to Kingdom come in stories, plays, films and songs; Westside Story and Ten Things I Hate about You to name but two. Of course, Shakespeare didn’t have the ideas first; he nicked them off some other bugger first. Stealing and “redefining” stuff is a great part of our culture; it always has been and it always will be.

Bearing this in mind, I started to think about our childhood games. They modernized Austen’s Emma into Clueless to appeal to the kids, Pride and Prejudice became Bridget Jones Diary, so why can’t we rework our board games? Think about it logically. Cluedo was quite ahead of it’s time in some ways; it had respected members of society accused of murder. I’m not sure that there are many games designed today that would accuse a Reverend of murder. There are other parts of the game that need modernizing though. Have you ever met or read about anyone who has suffered from the menace of the candlestick? Perhaps Chloroform would be a better substitution? Although I’m not quite sure how they would represent that in miniaturized form.

I plan radical changes to the Monopoly set. Instead of collecting all four train stations, perhaps you could buy a parking slot for your bike at each station? Then we could scrap the income tax and replace it with the Congestion Charge. Another thing that would have to be introduced was Community Service; in this day and age, you never get arrested and sent straight to prison, you always get the choice of community service. So, perhaps instead of going to jail, you can miss two goes whilst completing your community service? I think we should scrap the old fashioned ideas like winning a crossword or a beauty contest and replace them with things like “you got through to the second round on X Factor” or “you’ve won Big Brother, lose a life (if you have one) and win £500.” The negative cards could include “you had far too much to drink last night and had your bag stolen last night. Cancel your credit cards, report it to your mobile phone provider and lose £150.” We could compromise with “You have bought a new iPad. Go forward three steps, but lose £300.” Another of my favourites would be “You made the mistake of trying to go down Oxford Street during the Christmas rush, miss a turn”, perhaps followed swiftly by “You were cautioned by a Community Police Officer for aggressive pedestrian activity, pay a fine of £100.”

The Game of Life is another game in drastic need of modernisation. For a start, you could introduce the growth of polytechnics and further education colleges. When you get the choice of which way to go, you could then discover that you thought your university was reputable, but now they are running out of money and have closed your department down; miss two goes whilst you protest and then take a lower paid job at the end. This could carry on with things like “you forget to register your baby for school before it is born, watch it plummet down the social spectrum. You don’t miss a go, but will have a guilt ridden life.”

I get very upset when the things that I love get remade, but I think that board games could be so much more fun this way. Imagine your eight year old son proudly telling you that the murderer was the Reverend with the Cloroform in the loft extension. It would make life so much more entertaining. I’m all for this idea; who is with me? Together we can bring the big companies down and create Tomorr-opoly or Not Got a Fucking Clue-do. Happy days.