Middle school is an emotional roller coaster, as any parent of a young teen can tell you. I thought I’d share a day in R’s life with you–yesterday, to be precise.
Her friend regularly shares random “fun facts” with her. Today’s “fact”: left-handed people live on average nine years shorter. R is a lefty.
Earth-shattering, crushing, heart-breaking devastation!
She had heard that smokers live on average ten years shorter, so she always felt so good about not smoking. But now she would live almost as short as a smoker. Her healthy lifestyle apparently counted for nothing! How could life be so cruel?
She had also heard that every half hour of exercise lengthens your life by half an hour. At first she frantically tried to do the math–how much more would she have to exercise to get her nine lost years back?
Not having her calculator on her, R decided to change her pace in general. She wants to train for a triathlon, and step one is training for a 5k run. But now she would just forget about breaking it into steps and go straight for the triathlon.
Despite all this rapid-fire fighting-spirit planning, she was on the verge of tears all morning. It’s hard concentrating on pre-algebra when you’ve just heard your young life will be snuffed out before its time. Glancing surreptitiously at other lefties, she wondered if they knew yet that they were doomed? Should she tell them? Or should she let them enjoy their blissful ignorance until they found out some other way?
So imagine her relief when she told me and I laughed and told her it wasn’t true. Lefties do not live shorter lives than right-handed people.*
Elation! Hallelujah! Happy days are here again!
Suddenly R has a whole new lease of life. Nine extra years! Now she didn’t have to jog even more. Not that she wouldn’t have done it, but she did wonder where she would find the time. (So did I.)
Now, when she saw another lefty, she could think again, “Lefties Rule!” No longer did she have to wonder if she should leave them be or give them the heads-up so they could start their extra workout as soon as possible.
She practically danced through the door to her after-school activity. If she’d beamed any brighter, they could’ve turned off the electricity for the rest of the afternoon. Life is good.
Until the next thing, anyway.
* I looked up my statement later and found that Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. agrees with me. You may find some of the many articles that don’t–just don’t tell any 13-year-olds. Please.