Left is all right

I seldom get any sort of written communication from my younger sister (the art teacher/artist) but when I do, she is often quotable, if one punctuates:

Incidentally, what happened to good old chalk boards where you had the resistance of the chalk against the board? Whiteboards and whiteboard markers have a slimy, slippery, unsatisfying relationship.

I am convinced the person responsible for the development of the whiteboard and whiteboard marker idea not only hated the feel chalk dust under the fingernails but also had a secret, indiscriminate vendetta against left-handers the world over.

I like nothing more than to write with my fountain pen on a good, solid piece of paper. Having mastered the art of writing with a fountain pen by the age of ten without blotches, smudges and the like – or blue-black lips for that matter – I thought I was set for life.

Then came the déjà vu.

The first time I was confronted by a whiteboard was as a graduate student, posting information one such board for a bunch of beginner French students in the university’s language laboratory. It was such a mess and barely legible; I may as well have written the notice with my right hand, and eyes closed!

As a left-hander, one cannot rest any part of one’s hand or arm on the board – unless you want to create an amorphous smudge. Lack of an arm rest has a most deleterious affect on legibility; a sensitive issue for us South paws. Smudging could not have been part of the initial conception of the whiteboard idea. The mandate, if there ever was one, would have been to produce a classroom-friendly medium that was clean, clear, colourful and screechless.

As my sister so succinctly intimates, we derive pleasure from the tactile nature of writing and drawing. We need some resistance to push forward; we need to feel that we have made an effort in order to enjoy the resultant achievement.

We need tangible proof that we have made a mark – and by that, I do not mean an indelible multi-coloured one on one’s shirtsleeve.


The word in bold appeared in the previous post.

2 thoughts on “Left is all right

Add yours

  1. Fantastic article! I wholeheartedly agree that the relationship with a whiteboard is a “slimy, slippery, unsatisfying” one. And even though I’m not a left-hander, I do miss the chalk boards of the good old days 😉


Say something here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: