Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lefties in cyprus

I am writing this blog from the Hilton Park Hotel on the outskirts of Nikosia (or Lefkosia, as it is actually called here), Cyprus. A lovely place. It is only a forty minute flight from Tel Aviv, but here one feels as if in a different world, more relaxed, less frenetic. At breakfast today, there was barely the sound of a single mobile phone, which was a welcome relief from the noisy conversations we are used to overhearing, and participating in.

Yesterday I had coffee with two lovely ladies, Themis (from Cyprus) and Clare (from London), both of whom are involved in marketing Dentyl pH mouthwash. We realized early on, that we are all lefties (the chances of three lefties meeting for coffee is about one in a thousand!). All three of us suffered underwent 're-education' according to the viewpoint at the time that being left handed was something that required correction. Themis' story was the most poignant. A the tender age of seven, she was required to fly from Cyprus to London to undergo assessment. Only when she returned with a letter stating that her left-handedness was completely 'incorrectable' was she allowed to go back to school here and write with her sinister hand.

In kindergarten, they didn’t tie my left hand behind my back (I think I might have recalled such instances), or send me to London, but I do remember them repeatedly taking the crayon from my right hand and putting it into my left. Last weekend, while I was looking for something else, I chanced upon my kindergarten report card, which I 'proudly' display herewith.

I must have been a pretty miserable little guy. In addition to being wrong handed, and the only Jewish in a kindergarten which prayed daily to Jesus, I was hyperactive decades before there was a 'diagnosis' for this sort of thing. Fifty years later, living in a country where most people are Jewish, being left handed is no longer a sin, and practically everyone is frenetic and hyperactive, I feel quite at home.

Nevertheless, Cyprus is a welcome respite! Last night I gave my talk on bad breath to about 150 Cypriot dentists. One of my conditions in coming was that they set up a jazz gig with local musicians. This they indeed did, with excellent musicians, but this was at the dental event itself. So I found myself playing sax, singing, lecturing for an hour, then playing sax again. Lots of fun. Nevertheless, I got the feeling that the locals prefer Greek music (eventually a Greek band came on, and they were very good).

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