The parable of Pete

Pete knew early on that he was different. The first time he stepped up to the T-ball plate, his dad had to correct him. He had approached from the wrong side, the opposite of the other kids. His father gently moved him around to the other side where the rest of the players had gone.

Then, there was the time Pete drew snickers from his classmates when he grabbed a crayon and started creating his masterpiece in art class. The teacher quickly stepped in and demonstrated the proper way to hold a writing utensil. Pete was confused, but as all primary students do, he wanted to please, so he did his best to fix his mistake.

In middle school, Pete desperately wanted to prove his athletic prowess on the basketball court. Again, however, he struggled to conform to what the coach told him were the proper approaches to shooting. Somehow, Pete was never comfortable during practice. At home, however, using his own technique, he was a deadeye jump shooter.

Pete?s grades were decent enough in high school. He learned to adapt and join the crowd. Computers were a big help, as he didn?t have to show his awkwardness with a pencil.

Driver?s education, however, posed a significant problem as Pete tended to drift across the center line. He dreamed of hitting the open road in England or Australia or Ireland, where he could cruise comfortably on the forbidden side. With a huge effort, Pete managed to overcome his instinctive urges and conform well enough to earn his license.

At the age of 18, Pete attained his high school diploma and decided to forgo college and enter the workforce. He had always loved to build things, to work with his hands. So, the logical line of work seemed to be carpentry. The economy was strong, and Pete quickly found a job with a local construction company.

At first, things went well. Pete was a natural with a hammer. He could run a nail gun with the best of them. He was strong and a quick learner. Everybody liked him.

After work, Pete would go out for a beer with the guys. Though they were good men, they would often make jokes that made the young carpenter feel uncomfortable. They poked fun at some of the people who walked into the establishment, betting on whether each patron was ?normal.?

In voices loud enough for everyone to hear above the music, they would proclaim that certain customers looked like ?lefties? or ?southpaws.? Pete felt obligated to laugh along with his coworkers, hoping they didn?t notice his hesitation to chime in. But, deep down inside, he understood he couldn?t keep his secret forever. He knew that someday, somehow, the truth would be revealed: Pete was left-handed.

So, despite his misgivings, Pete came out. First, he broke the news to his family. His mother and father admitted they had suspected all along. They vowed to support him. Their unconditional love lifted Pete, and he decided to go public. He could no longer live with his secret.

He started with his church. After confiding in the members of his congregation, he was told that everything would be OK. They would do everything they could to fix him. After all, they loved Pete, even as they pointed out that using the wrong hand went against longstanding traditions. He could continue to participate in all church activities as long as he abstained from acting on his unnatural desires.

Pete did the best he could to conform to the wishes of society. He avoided places where other left-handers hung out. But, eventually, the inevitable happened. He met and fell in love with a young woman with whom he could share a set of golf clubs and even a pair of scissors.

But, their desire to get married sent shock waves through the community. If they were allowed to wed, imagine what a negative influence that would have on others. Some couples might even be tempted to experiment with ambidexterity. And, what if their offspring exhibited the couple?s same unnatural tendencies?

And so for now, Pete and the love of his life are in a state of limbo. Judges in some states have ruled that left-handed people can no longer be discriminated against. They are to be afforded the same basic human rights as right-handers. The governor and legislature of the state where Pete lives, however, have vowed to fight on.

And so, for now, Pete waits. He knows the tide is shifting; times are changing. He only hopes acceptance will come in his lifetime.

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