Today is the first day of 2017. For many it is a day of deep introspection, a day filled with hopes and plans for the future, thoughts about their strengths and weaknesses, resolutions and determinations for the coming year. I am a little strange, I guess. I began my day thinking about hands, and thoughts of hands have pervaded much of my thought process for several hours. In fact, I was perusing the various news outlets seeking inspiration and motivation for something upbeat to write for this afternoon’s blog post (which should have been written a day ago, and obviously was not), but the thought of hands just kept getting in my way. Thus, I decided to write about hands in hopes that it may be cathartic and allow my poor brain to ponder something else for the rest of the day. But my mind often refuses to be corralled, so …
What started this whole process occurred shortly after getting out of bed this morning. I was debating which pair of comfy sweats to wear today, and I rejected the first pair I came to because they did not have pockets. Pockets are an essential feature in pants. I do not know why any clothing manufacturer would even make pants without pockets! Being somewhat … just slightly, mind you … OCD, I have a specific “pocket order”. When I come downstairs in the morning, or go upstairs for the night, my cellphone goes in the right pocket, along with 2 peppermints, and my cigarettes, lighter, chapstick and inhaler go in the left pocket. All very orderly, just as I like it. My hands carry everything else, which is my book, Kindle, and second set of glasses (the first is on my face before my feet hit the floor).
So, I was thinking that a pair of pants without pockets is useless … BUT … if our hands could carry more, then perhaps we could do without pockets after all. Which led me to think about the marvel of hands. The conclusion I drew is that the hands are the absolute most useful part of the human body. Yes, yes, I know that the heart, brain, liver and all those other parts we cannot see are more essential to life than hands. But we cannot see internal organs, and while they probably function as they should, they aren’t something that we can choose how to use.
Just think for a moment of the marvel of the hands! There are so many different things we can use them for. We can pick up even the smallest object, such as a kernel of un-popped popcorn. We can use them both in tandem to pick up larger objects, such as a kitchen chair. We can use the flat hand to push an object, or curl our fingers around a hairbrush or a hammer. We can contort our hands to do all manners of things from squeezing a lemon to swinging a baseball bat. And let us not forget that we can even curl our hands into a fist and punch an obnoxious person!
And perhaps the best thing about hands is that we have two, and as mentioned above, they work quite well as a team. According to Wikipedia, “Each hand is dominantly controlled by the opposing brain hemisphere, so that handedness—the preferred hand choice for single-handed activities such as writing with a pencil, reflects individual brain functioning.” I started life as a left-hander, a “southpaw”, but a baseball accident in fourth grade, combined with a nun who smacked me on the head to force me to write with my right hand, changed that. I wonder what that says about my brain functioning? Better not to go there today.
And speaking of being left-handed … did you know that it used to be considered a sign of the devil? Which, I suppose, explains the nun who was determined to change me. But even more interesting is this from a website called Fact Retriever:
“Some scholars note that left-handers may be one of the last unorganized minorities in society because they have no collective power and no real sense of common identity. Additionally, left-handers are often discriminated against by social, educational, and religious institutions. Social customs and even language set the left-hander apart as “different” and even “bad.”
Well that explains a lot.
I, and almost everyone I have ever known has, from time to time, wished to have more than the two hands most of us were born with. But if you really think about it, I suspect that most of us would end up confused if we had three or four hands. We already often have the problem of the left hand not knowing what the right one is doing. And with only two, one on either side of our body, we can refer to them as our left hand or right hand. But if we had four, how would we refer to them? The upper and lower left and right hands?
Again, according to Wikipedia, “A hand is a prehensile, multi-fingered organ located at the end of the forearm or forelimb of primates such as humans, chimpanzees, monkeys, and lemurs.” Makes it sound rather boring, doesn’t it? What I did find interesting, however was that koalas, one of my favourite critters, actually have not one, but TWO opposable thumbs on each hand … paw!
Why, I had to ask, do koalas need two sets of opposable thumbs? And I found the answer! According to Queensland Blog, they are used for “climbing, holding onto trees and gripping food, while the second and third digits on their hind paws are fused together to form a grooming claw.” And of course, koalas are marsupials, and as such, the females have pouches to carry their babies. And pouches are a form of pockets … which brings me full circle back to my musings on pockets.
And now you have gained a glimpse into the strange mind of Filosofa. To many it is a scary place … sometimes I even find it so. It travels paths that have no obvious logic, and it frequently makes leaps that it should not attempt. Now that I have thoroughly confused you, I shall return to other pursuits. Happy January 1st!