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Editor’s Corner: Left on read
Andrea Gutierrez new

Joining the ranks of Barack Obama, Julia Roberts, and Ned Flanders—I was born a southpaw.

According to a cursory Google search, around 10% of the general population is left-handed. I’m willing to bet that almost all of them hated using scissors in art class as much as I did in Kindergarten.

But my father, in his infinite Old World ignorance, didn’t see my nascent left-handedness as a minor inconvenience but rather as an existential threat to his lineage.

“No one in my family is left-handed,” he proclaimed, as he rammed crayons and pencils in my right hand in a futile attempt to make me right-handed. But, to quote Lady Gaga–another leftie!--I was Born This Way™.

Being left-handed growing up also meant that I had to work twice as hard in school to get good grades in Handwriting (oh, the joys of private schooling: insert my eye-roll here) while getting double the amount of graphite smudges on my palm.

Nevertheless, I persisted. Throughout elementary school, my Handwriting grade never dipped below an “E” for excellent–except for one year when I got an “S” from an elderly homeroom teacher whose eyesight left much to be desired. (She misplaced her car keys at least twice a month).

Even today, I still get the odd compliment or two on my penmanship–usually during the increasingly rare occasions I am tasked with writing something in our digital age (I normally organize my To-Do lists on my phone and desktop calendar). Last month, my colleague Mark said to me that my handwriting “looks like a font” as he read the message I wrote in the Christmas card I gave him.

My secret to good handwriting? Two things: an obsession with Moleskine notebooks (or any cheap equivalent found on Amazon) and using quality pens. The latter is more difficult than it sounds—in my experience, my favorite gel pens either get stolen, misplaced, or used by my mother when she is doodling in her notepad while being placed on hold by credit card companies.

One morning, I read an article on Readers’ Digest that attempted to analyze handwriting and assign personality traits based on markers like the size of one’s lettering and the spacing between written words.

After reading the article in its entirety, I gathered that my handwriting style–sharp, straight, angular, connected–is indicative of “high intelligence” and “conscientiousness”, as well as “neuroticism”, “anxiety”, and “insecurity.”

Naturally, I chose to ignore the latter half of that assessment and continued to eat my breakfast croissant in peace. Intelligent people like myself don’t listen to pop science articles judging them–we download dating apps instead.

Sweet deals

On Sunday, my brother brought home a box of Japanese snacks from the monthly subscription service TokyoTreat. The site had a New Years’ sale for new customers, he said, so he obviously had to sign up, duh. Despite being seven years older than me, I sometimes feel like my brother is the baby of the family. What he lacks in financial sense, however, he more than makes up for in funny jokes and Adobe Lightroom knowledge. We compliment each other well, methinks.

The TokyoTreat snacks were both exotic and delicious, with a wide range of flavors to keep us both satisfied. My brother gravitated towards the instant ramen and udon noodles in the box, whereas I preferred the sweet Kohaku KitKats and Pokémon-shaped gummies.

While eating the Japanese candy (and reluctantly sharing it with my brother), it got me wondering why candy from foreign countries tastes way better than our own American sweets. Is it because we’re too familiar with our own candy to think that it’s anything special? When I visit family in Colombia, I make a beeline to the nearest corner store to get a quick fix of Postobón apple soda, Chocoramo cakes and Jet chocolate bars. Meanwhile, my younger cousins always beg me to bring back Mountain Dew, Twinkies and Hershey Bars from the States.

The moral of this story is that the grass always looks greener on the other side. That, and maybe my brother should stop buying candy from the other side of the world.

Andrea Gutierrez is the editor of the Bryan County News

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