My secret shame

image courtesy of photobucket. com

If the Hokey Pokey really was what it was all about, I would be in serious trouble…

I may have mentioned this in passing before, but today I make an all out confession:

I suffer from Left-Right Confusion,

Which in layman’s terms means I often can’t tell my left from my right without pretending to eat.

image courtesy of

It’s more embarrassing than anything else. I’ve called people moments after giving them directions to my house and asked them to repeat them to make sure I didn’t say turn left when they should turn right.

Joey, I feel your pain...

I don’t know if the two are related, but I also have a horrible sense of direction.

I’ve mostly come to terms to my condition and have given up my dreams of ever becoming an air traffic controller. But sometimes situations arise which remind me just how different I am. And not necessarily in a good way.

Such was the case Wednesday night.

I have this amazing book called The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher. I’m sort of at a loss for words as to how to describe it, so I’ll let Amazon do it for me: “Alan Fletcher’s The Art of Looking Sideways is an absolutely extraordinary and inexhaustible “guide to visual awareness,” a virtually indescribable concoction of anecdotes, quotes, images, and bizarre facts that offers a wonderfully twisted vision of the chaos of modern life.” It is the big book of awesome, and I mean that literally: it weighs 5 pounds.

Anyhoo, I was looking through the book last night (there’s no beginning or end–you could start anywhere), when I came across an exercise which tests whether you were left or right eyed dominant.

Before I continue, I need to give you a little back story. When I was a young tot first picking up a crayon, my natural inclination was to lead with my left hand. My older sisters, apparently fearing being left-handed would make me more of a freak than I already was, forced me to write with my right hand. I’m convinced I should have been left-handed. I credit them for me being amberdextrous ambidexterous able to do things with both hands. I also blame them for my left-right confusion and the delayed discovery of my creativity. (It’s okay–they don’t read my blog. Feel free to heap burning coals upon their heads.)

Now, about the test. It started with a picture:

If you're right-eyed dominant, you probably see the above figure as a rabbit. If you're left-eyed dominant, you probably see a bird.

I was really hoping to discover that I was left-eyed dominant, which would confirm that I am truly left-handed and right-brained. This is my logic. Just nod and follow along, please. Well that was not at all helpful. I see both, and not really one more than the other.

But wait…there was more! Here’s the other test:

Stretch out an arm, either will do, and point with a finger to a distant corner of the room–keep both eyes open.

Staying in this position, close one eye, then the other. In one case your eye will match whatever you’re pointing at in the corner, in the other your finger will be pointing way off the mark.

If you’re on target, that’s your leading eye.

I took the test.

When I closed my right eye, my left eye stayed on target.


I really am left-eyed dominant.



“Um…what are you doing?”, asks my husband.

“I took a test to see if I’m left or right-eyed dominant. I’m left-eyed dominant, by the way.”

I proceed to read him the instructions I followed to the letter. Then I repeated the test again.

“Which eye stays on target?”

“MY LEFT EYE! See?” (repeats test)



“That’s your right eye.”


What about you? Have any secret shames you hide from the world?

This is a safe place.

Talk to me, freaks!

« « Previous Post: The bucket (of rocks) list (repost) | Next Post: The highly anticipated (or not) Twitter update » »

67 Responses to “My secret shame”

  1. Jason February 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    I have an intense secret shame.



    I….find Dane Cook funny.

    • katdish February 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

      I think there’s a 12 step program for that, Jason.

  2. barbara February 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    I feel your pain. For the longest time I had to raise my arm across my chest and pretend to do the Pledge of Allegiance before I could remember which hand was right. I am pretty much left-handed, but some things are right-handed. Eyes: I saw both the duck and rabbit about the same time too. Shooting at the gun range is quite a chore. I tend to close the wrong eye when I site.
    I guess I am permanently messed up.

    • katdish February 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

      I’m glad I’m not alone, Barbara. Might I suggest a sawed-off shotgun?

    • Lyla Lindquist February 24, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

      I was chuckling as I read too, thinking of the times I’d had to slip my (right) hand up and mumble the Pledge under my breath to nail down one or the other.


      • katdish February 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

        You’re not alone, Lyla. While I was “researching” for this post, I read that 20% of the population may have right-left confusion.

  3. kelybreez February 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    You give me a strange comfort.

    I’m not sure what it is, but I think it has something to do with not being the most maladjusted individual on the planet now that I know you…

    • katdish February 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      You’re welcome.

  4. Kathleen February 24, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Oh dear. I was laughing so hard that Brita and Loverby had to have me read this to them. They then looked at the pictures and did both tests. Free comic relief. Thanks. The funniest part was you had us so confused, because I hadn’t read your husband’s part yet.

    • katdish February 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

      And? Left or right eyed?

  5. Cassandra Frear February 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Left eye dominant.

    And I can’t believe I just spent five minutes on this.

    What are you doing to me?

    • katdish February 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

      Are you left handed as well?

      And sorry/you’re welcome.

  6. Lynn Mosher February 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    LOL This was too fun! Left, the right left, eye dominant! But right foot dominant when kicking a ball. Hmmm…

    You sound dyslexic. I had a friend who took on the temporary job of driving a school bus for the dyslexic school. He never got the route straight so relied on the kids to tell him. Turn right! No, the other right! Turn left! No, the other left! LOL Boy, did he get lost!

    {{whispers}} My shame…ummm…growing up, I used to hit my left hand (I write and eat with my left hand; do almost everything else with my right hand). I even purposely did things with my right hand and foot before the left, like putting on shoes, socks, etc. I didn’t like being different from the other kids. I hated looking for the only left-handed desk in the classroom.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this, Kat! Thanks! 😀

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 7:51 am #

      I don’t think I’m dyslexic. I don’t get words confused, just directions. I never really thought about the left/right desk thing. My son is a lefty, too.

  7. Maureen February 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    What is it called when you see both the rabbit and the bird at the same time?

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 7:52 am #

      I think it means you’re a poet.

  8. Candy February 24, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Dang, you too? I used to wear a pearl ring on my right hand and always tell myself “Ring=Right.” Then I up and got married and dang, I still have to stop and think. I can’t wear rings on both hands because of that. RB is always correcting me – you’d think I’d get it right about half the time, but then I over think it. And here in farm country, they all say things like East and West and it’s enough to drive me nuts.

    And I saw both in the picture, except it was a squirrel and not a rabbit. Dang, I think I need therapy now.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 7:54 am #

      Oh, yeah. RR says east and west all the time, too. I can’t tell my left from my right. How am I supposed to know east and west?

      • Leann February 25, 2011 at 10:03 am #

        I get east and west mixed up too. I have to do the mental, north-south-east-west in order to remember. I used to get left and right mixed up until I read somewhere that you can make an “L” with your left hand by putting your fingers together and sticking your thumb out perpendicular. So, that’s how it was easier for me.

        • katdish February 25, 2011 at 10:08 am #

          Yes, but you still have to think about it. That’s what drives me crazy. Shouldn’t that just be instinctual?

      • Helen February 25, 2011 at 10:24 am #

        That’s why I must never leave Chicago! East is toward the lake!

  9. Katie M February 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    I still count on my fingers. I am HORRIBLE at math, and will count on my fingers without shame in any and all minor adding situations. Also, I am right eye dominant and right handed…but I’m creative as hell, so whatever. 🙂

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 7:54 am #

      Yes. I also suck at math.

  10. karenzach February 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    I was feeling badly about wasting so much time these past two days, caught up in trying to get ready to get back on the road and then I come here and read this post. Now I feel sooo much better about myself and so badly for you. I don’t know whether to thank you or pray for you.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      You should pray for me and then thank God for me, Karen. You’re welcome.

      • Jake February 25, 2011 at 8:58 am #

        Kathy, I’m tweeting this right now.

  11. Larry Hehn February 25, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    My wife gets left and right mixed up all the time too. Now instead of asking her to say either left or right, I just ask her to point.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      Way to adapt, Larry!

  12. A Simple Country Girl February 25, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    Oh my land!

    I saw an ugly, cracked wooden spoon. What does that make me?

    By the way, I nearly failed high school driver’s ed because I continually turned the wrong direction upon the instructor’s commands. Good thing I’d already been driving for years before I took driver’s ed. (Oh, shhh.)

    Then in college I had to take multiple dance classes (the joy!) for my Physical Education minor. The final included all manner of partner dances, contra dances, square dances, and other jigs where a person needs to know left from right. Because of my insane directional confusion I wrote “L” and “R” on the respective tops of my hands. That mean ole square dance caller was not going to confuse me! Ha.

    We were barely into the twirling and ducking and spinning and careening when my partner yells at me for going the wrong way. I tell him I am right. I know. I wrote it on my hands. He stopped mid-sashay and showed me how I wrote L & R on the wrong hands! Horrid. Shameful. Of course the whole class was at a standstill during his explanation. Soon after, several people showed me how to make an “L” with my thumb and pointer finger, while tucking the other three fingers palm-ward. You can only make a proper L with the left hand. So now I know.

    And about that eye dominance thing, I couldn’t properly assist my son with some of his vision therapy exercises so his therapist suggested I get professionally tested. Yeah, it’s a jolly day when even the pros cannot decipher the results. Apparently I suffer from Mass Directional Eyeball Hysteria or something…

    Sorry for shirt-tailing on your shame, but at present I cannot seem to narrow down my 100 or so secrets… (knocking myself out while playing pictionary, shooting beans out my nose in a laugh attack, etc.)


    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 8:02 am #

      Oh my gosh, Darlene! I could totally see myself writing L and R on the wrong hands. Hilarious. Not sure what seeing a spoon means…

  13. Glynn February 25, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    I saw a bird, not a rabbit (I had to focus to see the rabbit). The eye test showed I’m left-eyed dominant. And I’m right-handed.

    My wife would say, “This probably explains a lot.”

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 8:03 am #

      You should explain to your wife how exhausting it is to use both sides of your brain all the time.

  14. Jake February 25, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Kathy, I wish you could have seen me yesterday… I was in the middle of a meeting (in front of everyone speaking by the way) when I tried to display the number seven using my fingers. I looked at my hand with four fingers and a thumb out, then looked at the other with two fingers any my thumb out and could not get it to go to seven. The thumb did not want to go down, I flipped my hand over several times and finally just yelled, “SEVEN!” and immediately went red. Five minutes of laughter ensued from a conference room containing a small crowd of people and the story was retold multiple times yesterday.

    I don’t know what on earth was happening in my brain at that moment… but it’s been like that all week. (please tell me you saw Monday’s scandalous typo….)

    I think people like you and I are some sort of absent-minded, challenged by regular, everyday things GENIUSES. Kathy, we struggle with this stuff because you and me? We. Are. Brilliant.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 9:03 am #

      Snort! That’s hilarious. And yes, Jake. I concur. We MUST be brilliant. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

  15. Jamie February 25, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    I saw the duck but think my other was dominant with the finger pointing. No wonder I stay so confused. My secret shame is remembering names. I will know someone’s face forever. Names not so much.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 9:28 am #

      Jamie, Have you ever been introducing someone you’ve known forever to someone else and you forget their name? Yeah. That happens to me all the time.

  16. Helen February 25, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    My mom used to lightly smack my hand for holding a crayon or pencil with my left hand. I still don’t like to color, by the way… I also have left right confusion. In college, a friend suggested I hold my hands out, fingernails facing me. The hand that can make an “L” is my left hand. That has worked for me.
    Never liked those eye tests. I can see both, too.
    Neither eye seems to be dominant. I think I may need to make an appointment with my eye doctor.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 10:48 am #

      Why? Why did folks do that? I wonder how many should-be lefties are wandering around confused these days?

      • Helen February 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

        Because desks are made for righties. So are most scissors. My mom thought she was helping me, not scrambling my poor little brain.
        My dad’s brother was a leftie. No one tried to change him. (He grew up in Europe.) I wonder how much of this is cultural. Do they try to make lefties righties in other countries?

  17. Amy Sorrells February 25, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    I saw Buzz Lightyear surrounded by little green aliens.

    What does that mean?

    Hilarious. This made my week.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      I’m praying that the snow is melting there and you can get out of the house more. At least you didn’t see Buzz Lightyear surrounded by green aliens and dog hair.

  18. MaryC February 25, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    That was really fascinating!
    I definitely saw the bird – until you mentioned the rabbit. Then that was all I could see.
    But I definitely showed as left-brain with the finger pointing test. THAT was amazing.
    But I’m totally right-handed. Never have felt even the slightest urge to do things left-handed (although my daughter is left-handed, hmmmm).

    So what does it all mean – left-brain but I concede to authority (you suggesting a rabbit?)
    Maybe just majorly confused. LOL

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      Glad I could help, Mary.

  19. seekingpastor February 25, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Even though my wife fusses at my boys for burping out loud, when whe isn’t around I laugh with them when they do it. I feel so ashamed.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 11:02 am #

      Don’t be ashamed. I do the same thing. And not just with burping…

  20. katdish February 25, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    50 points? Yes! I’ll take it. I need to tally my score card.

    • Jeanne Damoff February 25, 2011 at 11:25 am #

      That 50 points was for the poet line. You have way more points than I’ve ever told you about, by the way. Guess it would kind of make sense for me to give them to you, huh?

  21. Doug Spurling February 25, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    oh boy, I saw the bird…but my right eye was dominant in the corner. Is there any help? When I was in school basketball coach ruined a good pair of my shoes by writing with ink on the toes “RIGHT” on the right and “LEFT” on the left. He said it would help me use the correct arm doing lay-ups. It just made me run into the wall cuz I was looking at my shoes instead of the basket. scarred me for life huh?

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 11:37 am #

      Well, duh…he should have written on your arm.

      • Doug Spurling February 25, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

        You are brilliant…a blind bird (or rabbit) could see that – with both eyes.

  22. Jeanne Damoff February 25, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    At least you’re an adorable freak. xo

    I saw the bird first, but thought it was some sort of sad deformed duck/platypus creature. Then I saw the rabbit and felt sorry for his blocky ears and smooshed nose. I’m more inclined to go with Darlene’s spoon.

    On the pointy thing, I was slightly right eye dominant, but not extremely, and the whole thing was blurry. Fun times with getting old.

    I don’t have any trouble with driving directions if I look at a map and get it in my oh-so-visual imagination. My daughter, however, has no sense of direction. When she left for college we had to take her to Dallas to catch a plane, and she wanted to drive. We got to the end of our street, and she just sat there. Finally she said, “Which way is Dallas?”

    You can imagine my sense of comfort sending her off on her own.


    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      “Which way is Dallas?” Snort! Awesome.

    • Candy February 25, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      Before GPS thingies, I used to print out maps on Mapquest to get where I was going. In order to get home, I would have to literally turn the map upside down. These confessions are so therapetic.

  23. Annie McMahon February 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    My problem is a bit similar to yours. When I memorize the directions to go somewhere, I know which highway to take, but I never know if I need to go North or South, East or West. So I often end up going the opposite direction until I notice the exit I need to take is getting further and further… My husband, on the other hand, was a boat captain for years. He doesn’t even need to look at the signs or a map to know what direction he’s going.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

      When driving anywhere, I take the George Costanza approach: Whatever I think is correct, I do the complete opposite. This usually works, unless I try to over think it.

  24. jasonS February 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Ah, that’s hilarious, Kat. As far as afflictions go, this one doesn’t sound too terrible, though I can see where it might be embarrassing from time to time. 🙂

  25. Clay Morgan February 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    This post is great! I am a lefty. So is my oldest sister. No one in our family ever understood what we were talking about. So left-handers are often right-brained. I’ve never heard about this eye thing though. I definitely saw a bird first but the corner pointing thing isn’t clear. I’ll have to do this to my students tonight.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

      You should see if you can get your hands on that book, Clay. It’s friggintastic.

  26. Marni February 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    I have Captain and Tenille on my iPod. Yes, Muskrat Love is one of the songs too.

    There’s my secret shame.

    And I did both your tests and I’m left eye dominant, but right handed. WTFT?? My mom is a leftie therefore I do things she taught me with my left hand–cook, eat, swing a golf club, iron (Ha! As if I iron anything. That’s why God made dry cleaners and Downy Wrinkle Releaser). But I write right handed. Am I and enigma shrouded in mystery, just as I always secretly suspected?

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

      You are most certainly an enigma shrouded in mystery, Marns. And Muskrat Love? Some things should remain in the vault.

  27. Fatcatdaddy February 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I hold my hands up and look to see which index and thumb make an L. If you watch you may catch me at it.

    • katdish February 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

      HA! I’ve seen you do that.

  28. Tony Alicea February 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I have way too many weird eccentricities. They are all kinda small but can only fully be appreciated when you see me do them. I have a weird bathroom routine that I really can’t break. I have a thick carpet mat deal in my bathroom and when I brush my teeth, I rub my feet against it the whole time. I do plenty of other more weird and inappropriate things that shall go unmentioned.

    And I totally saw a bird in that picture. Not sure what that means.

  29. Hazel Moon February 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    I could not help it, I busted out laughing at your husbands remark! I must be right eye dominant, is that good or bad? I don’t feel any different 🙂

  30. Claygirlsings March 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    I saw the duck (Left Eye Dominant), but in all dominance tests, I’m very much Right Eye Dominant.

    Here’s another test. Pick out an object on the other side of the room. Bring both arms up and make a small circle with your hands to frame that object closely. Then don’t move your hands, but close each eye individually to see which one makes the object stay in place. That’s the dominant eye. Although, it does help to know whether or not that’s your right or left eye in the first place!

    Thanks for sharing katdish! I have to count numbers in my head or on my hand still when multiplying. Thank goodness for calculators on cell phones!

  31. Sharkbait March 11, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    I am a grown man who thinks he is a fish, and you think I need a secret to be a freak?

    Ha ha!

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>