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I've just today noticed an irony in "Study in Pink."  When Sherlock stops the cab, he quickly decides that the passenger can't be the killer, in part because he's an American.  In Conan Doyle's Study in Scarlet, the killer is an American.
 
And thanks to an "editorial comment" in Ariane DeVere's transcript, I'm also aware of an irony in "The Blind Banker":

SHERLOCK: It’s highly unlikely that a left-handed man would shoot himself in the right side of his head.
[says the man whose flatmate is left-handed but shoots with his right hand ...]

 

In Sherlock's defense, he may not yet have seen John fire a gun.  Or he may think of him as ambidextrous, since he sometimes eats with his right hand.  But it's still ironic.

 

Anyone got more?

 

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I've just today noticed an irony in "Study in Pink."  When Sherlock stops the cab, he quickly decides that the passenger can't be the killer, in part because he's an American.  In Conan Doyle's Study in Scarlet, the killer is an American.

 

And thanks to an "editorial comment" in Ariane DeVere's transcript, I'm also aware of an irony in "The Blind Banker":

 

 

In Sherlock's defense, he may not yet have seen John fire a gun.  Or he may think of him as ambidextrous, since he sometimes eats with his right hand.  But it's still ironic.

 

Anyone got more?

 

-------------

 

Wait!  John's left-handed?  He wears his watch on his left wrist, he shoots and holds a gun in his right hand, eats with his right hand, I think he zips up his coat with his right hand.  So, what am I missing?  Probably a good clue someplace.

 

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He writes with his left hand, pretty much a given for being left handed.

 

I do a lot of other things left handed (including giving iv injections, not quite shooting a gun...) but I write with my right hand and class myself as right handed.

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Me too, aely (except for the part about IVs).

 

Just to confuse matters even further, John has been known to punch obnoxious consulting detectives with his right fist.  He sometimes eats with his right hand, but other time with his left.  But he always writes with his left hand.

 

In fact, virtually all of Martin Freeman's characters write with their left hand (even though the writing is never shown, so if there were any reason for the character to be right-handed, it should be easy enough for him to fake).

 

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Regarding why John does certain things with his right hand, it seems to me there could be four basic reasons:

 

1.  His left shoulder may still bother him a bit, at certain times or when he does certain things (which could explain why he punched Sherlock with his right fist, for example).

 

2.  He may have been trained that way (which could explain why he holds his gun in his right hand, for example).

 

3.  He might be doing something else with his left hand (can't think of any John examples, but I often eat with my left hand so I can type with my right).

 

4.  He may simply have some personal quirks (like aely & me).

 

As an example of #2, my father was naturally left-handed, but had been forced to learn to write with his right hand (as was considered proper in those days).  Also, he pitched a softball left-handed, but batted right-handed (presumably because the big kid who taught him how had said, "OK, you stand here," which meant he would automatically bat right-handed).

 

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Handedness really has nothing to do with shooting. Its decided by which eye is dominant, so people like my dad, who are right handed but left eye dominant, would squeeze the trigger with his left hand with thier right bracing, this of course goes either way so john could very easily be a lefty and shoot with his right hand

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Oh, hey, I never thought of that, but it certainly makes sense.  I assume that most left-handed people are also left-eye dominant -- but as with everything else, there must be exceptions.

 

And hello, anykey -- welcome to Sherlock Forum!   :welcome:

 

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I discovered something else I do with my left hand, which I previously didn't realise.

 

Please note, there follows a discussion of taking blood - if you don't like needles and stuff, it might be a bit freaky.

 

 

 

 

If I'm taking blood from a person's left arm and I'm using a certain type of needle called a butterfly (which I prefer because I find it easier), I insert the needle into the vein with my left hand. On their Right arm I use my right hand. First time I noticed I was a bit taken aback because as far as I was concerned, I've always taken blood right handed, it's not something you want to do with a hand that doesn't have good dexterity and there's no way I can write left handed; ergo, it lacks in dexterity. So, I just carried on as normal when taking blood but ensured I made a note if I did the left hand blood taking thing. It essentially depends on the position of the vein I'm using for the venepuncture, but it seems I do it without thinking. Strange. Wonder how many years I've been doing that without noticing?

 

Oh and using a mouse left handed causes no problems either, which I discovered the other day when my carpel tunnel kicked off in my right hand so I switched the mouse to give the affected hand some relief.

 

 

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... there's no way I can write left handed; ergo, it lacks in dexterity.

 

I'm pretty sure that anyone can learn to write with either hand, so the ability comes largely from practice rather than from inherent dexterity.  Left-handed kids of my father's generation were routinely forced to write with their right hands, so my left-handed father was never able to write with his left hand.  Also, I used to know an originally right-handed woman who had broken her right arm at age six, when she was just learning to write.  By the time the cast came off, she was functionally left-handed, and some thirty years later was still seeking out seats at the left end of the table.

 

Like you, I have been discovering that my handedness is not a simple matter, and keep noticing things that I not only do well with my left hand, but am actually clumsy at with my right hand.  I can explain the fact that my left hand is very adept at removing and replacing screw tops by noting that I keep my vitamin bottles to my right, so of course I pick them up with my right hand. leaving my left hand to deal with the lids.  But I have no idea why I'm so much better at leafing through books or stacks of paper with my left hand, which I just noticed a few months ago.

 

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Whenever John has the fork in his right hand and his knife in his left he's eating left handed because if your British the knife is in your dominant hand 

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Oh -- good point, Caitlin, and welcome to Sherlock Forum!   :welcome: ( Oddly enough, I've noticed that sort of thing in real life, but for some reason hadn't connected it with John.)  At least for right-handers, I've seen British people keep the knife in their right hand and their fork (with the tines curving downward) in their left all the time, whereas Americans do that while they're cutting their food, but then put down the knife and switch the fork (with tines curving upward) to their right hand in order to actually eat.  (And it's considered improper to cut more than a few bites at a time, so we're forever switching hands.)

The British method is obviously more efficient, but over here it's considered ignorant and impolite.  What's the British opinion of the American method?

 

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:blink: You're switching hands? Never noticed that, which is kinda embarrassing. We cut bites one at a time and then fork them up with the left hand - the only reason I could think of for Austrians to use the fork in their right hand is if there's no knife present at all, so maybe that knife-right-fork-left is more of a pan-European thing?

Anyway, welcome Caitlin! :wave: Make yourself right at home!

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2 hours ago, Caya said:

You're switching hands? Never noticed that, which is kinda embarrassing. We cut bites one at a time and then fork them up with the left hand [....] so maybe that knife-right-fork-left is more of a pan-European thing?


Could well be.  I have a vague feeling that I saw that technique in Germany as well.

Of course we Americans only switch hands if we're eating something that needs to be cut.  If our food is already bite-size or otherwise not in need of a knife, then we just keep the fork in our dominant hand.

I assume that everyone uses a spoon with their dominant hand?

 

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Mostly, yes, but pasta is the exception to that rule - here in Austria at least (and I've seen both Italians and Germans do that, as well) we twirl the fork in our right hand to coil spaghetti, while holding the spoon with the left to help keep the fork steady against it. How about Americans?

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10 minutes ago, Caya said:

... here in Austria at least (and I've seen both Italians and Germans do that, as well) we twirl the fork in our right hand to coil spaghetti, while holding the spoon with the left to help keep the fork steady against it. How about Americans?


Well, that system is certainly known here, but it's more authentically Italian than most of us.  I sometimes twirl my spaghetti, sometimes chop it up instead -- just call me eclectic!  (And to be perfectly honest, I prefer macaroni, even with pasta sauce.)

So I guess the overall "rule" is that the dominant hand holds the active implement, while the other hand holds the, umm, inactive implement.

 

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9 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

The British method is obviously more efficient, but over here it's considered ignorant and impolite.

I use the British method now because it's easier, or sometimes I will cut all my meat at once instead of one or two pieces at a time.  Most people don't even seem to remember table etiquette anymore, so I don't think it's as improper as it used to be.

The funny thing about this is that, once upon a time, the British actually used to do it the 'American' way.  The old method of switching hands transferred over with the American colonists, who kept it.  But at some point before the American Revolution, the British elite wanted to distinguish themselves as more 'couth' than their American cousins, so they changed the rules of etiquette and made the switch method the less proper one among 'good society'.

The upper classes did this often throughout history.  I've read that the slang 'ain't', for instance, was once used almost exclusively among educated aristocrats and considered a perfectly legitimate word.  But once the poorer classes started copying it, the aristocrats dropped it and called it 'improper'.  (There's more to that story of course, but there always is.)  It also wasn't unusual for them to do the reverse: Adopt something common among the poorer classes, and in doing so make it less accessible to them.  Lobster is one well-known example.  It used to be a pauper's meal, only to become the height of fine dining after the wealthy took to it.

Anyway!  I digress.  :P  I hate twirling my pasta because it always seems to end up messy, spoon or no spoon.  I typically cut mine into more manageable bits, or just make it with a different kind of noodle.  I like small shells best.  When I do use a longer pasta I choose angel hair.  Easier to twirl because it's less slippery, and holds the flavor much better, in my opinion.  In fact it's pretty much the only spaghetti-type noodle I will eat anymore.

 

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14 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

The British method is obviously more efficient, but over here it's considered ignorant and impolite.  What's the British opinion of the American method?

I think it would be quit annoying to swith your knife and fork every 5 seconds but it would be a bit easier to eat if your forks in your dominant hand because your spoon is

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I use my left hand for the fork and right for the knife, which is the usual way of eating in Poland and Germany. I mostly use spoon with my left (dominant) hand. Sometimes I use the other hand and wonder why it's not really functioning.
Generally, when cutting things I usually use my right hand. I know, it's confusing. :P

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6 hours ago, Caitlin7496 said:

I think it would be quit annoying to swith your knife and fork every 5 seconds but it would be a bit easier to eat if your forks in your dominant hand because your spoon is


Well, it's typically more like once every minute or two, if that makes you feel any better!  But yeah, even though I'm slightly ambidextrous, I'm not really comfortable using my left hand to hold the implement that's putting food into my mouth.

 

2 hours ago, J.P. said:

I use my left hand for the fork and right for the knife, which is the usual way of eating in Poland and Germany. I mostly use spoon with my left (dominant) hand. Sometimes I use the other hand and wonder why it's not really functioning.
Generally, when cutting things I usually use my right hand. I know, it's confusing. :P


Good heavens, don't tell me you're human!

I suspect the only people who are consistent in such matters are 1) those who are hung up on whatever their local etiquette may be and 2) those who were not allowed to use their dominant hand when they were kids (and were punished if they did).

 

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Dunno. As I started my first job, I was the one for making dummies of flyers and brochures. That involved a lot of cutting paper. And for cutting paper, unlike cutting potatoes I use my left hand. A colleague went by and was terrified: I cannot even look at you doing this with your left hand, it looks wrong and dangerous. :D

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49 minutes ago, J.P. said:

for cutting paper, unlike cutting potatoes I use my left hand. A colleague went by and was terrified: I cannot even look at you doing this with your left hand, it looks wrong and dangerous.


... as in "not the way I do it?"   :D 

I rarely notice which hand other people are using, so -- as long as you were performing competently -- it wouldn't have bothered me a bit.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Artemis said:

once upon a time, the British actually used to do it the 'American' way.  The old method of switching hands transferred over with the American colonists, who kept it.  But at some point before the American Revolution, the British elite wanted to distinguish themselves as more 'couth' than their American cousins, so they changed the rules of etiquette and made the switch method the less proper one among 'good society'.


I'm not surprised to hear we got that system from the British -- I mean, why would a bunch of practical, independent-minded colonists (who were in the process of simplifying British spelling for their own use) come up with something as rococo as that?  But as for the British aristocracy later wanting to distinguish themselves from Americans -- well, I suspect it was more a matter of the British la-de-da crowd wanting to distinguish themselves from their own common folk (who have a nasty habit of adopting the upper crust's habits, thereby ruining them).

 

13 hours ago, Artemis said:

I've read that the slang 'ain't', for instance, was once used almost exclusively among educated aristocrats and considered a perfectly legitimate word.  But once the poorer classes started copying it, the aristocrats dropped it and called it 'improper'.  (There's more to that story of course, but there always is.)


As I understand it, the word "ain't" was once the perfectly proper contraction for "am not."  But then -- because language is always evolving -- some people started also using it for "is not" and "are not," at which point the grammar police declared it to be a non-word.  This leaves the English language with no acceptable contraction for "am not," prompting some people to use ridiculous substitutions like "aren't I?"

 

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On 8/30/2020 at 6:59 AM, Caitlin7496 said:

I think it would be quit annoying to swith your knife and fork every 5 seconds but it would be a bit easier to eat if your forks in your dominant hand because your spoon is

My Spanish professor, Srta Forrester gave us an entertainingly memorable lecture once on the history behind the differences between the Continental & American styles of eating.

In Europe (England inclusive), with all that court intrigue abounding, one kept both hands in sight of one's dining companions at all times, in order to demonstrate in good faith that one hand was not engaging in stabbing or poisoning one's dining companions on the sly.  Meanwhile, in the new and primitive country across the water, there was no court intrigue as such.  A few cities like Philadelphia, New York and Savannah had 'society folk', who presumably were maintaining the English style.  But in the frontier settlements, one dined at table with one's trusty rifle close to hand in case marauding natives or wild animals would attempt to break in during a meal.  If one had to keep one hand on one's gun, then it necessitated setting the knife down and eating with one's dominant hand.

It made for a good story, at any rate.

In the British style one cuts one bite of meat at a time, and so it is indeed more efficient to never set either utensil down.  In America, it became a sign of good manners to cut several bites of meat before setting down one's knife.  The knife hand should ideally rest in one's lap (not on the table, unless one is holding a piece of bread), and then you pick up the fork with your dominant hand.  Since the cutting  has already been done, ostensibly one should have time for conversation between bites (after chewing and swallowing!)  The British style seems to exude a sense of great concentration upon the action of eating, wherein one looks at one's plate, not at one's dining companions.  When the utensils are set down between courses, then one may discourse with one's seat companion.  Depending on how impeccable the posture is, the English style can sometimes appear to an American that the diners are hunching over their plates and zealously guarding their food.   It is a more delicate operation to transport the food to the mouth via downturned tines with one's weaker hand.  Especially if one is trying to eat something like peas, which are not inclined to stay put, I suppose one cannot afford to let one's attention wander.

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1 hour ago, Hikari said:

It made for a good story, at any rate.

Indeed.  :D

1 hour ago, Hikari said:

In America, it became a sign of good manners to cut several bites of meat before setting down one's knife.

... but not too many.  I believe I've seen etiquette books recommending two or at most three at a time.  Bizarre, isn't it, that people would actually take the time to write books detailing such things?  And that other people would spend their money and time to read them?

1 hour ago, Hikari said:

 It is a more delicate operation to transport the food to the mouth via downturned tines with one's weaker hand.  Especially if one is trying to eat something like peas, which are not inclined to stay put, I suppose one cannot afford to let one's attention wander.

I cannot say for sure, but my intuition tells me that even the British aren't sufficiently stubborn to eat peas in that way.  They do, after all, presumably eat soup with an upturned spoon in their dominant hand, and therefore should have no trouble generalizing that method to using a fork on things that don't need cutting.  It's hard enough to eat peas with an upturned fork!

Which reminds me:

I eat my peas with honey.
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps 'em on the knife!

I don't recall I ever heard that attributed to an author, but the internet seems equally divided between Anonymous and Ogden Nash.  I would favor the former, because it doesn't quite sound like ol' Ogden to me.

But some poets have quite a wide range -- while looking that up, I came across another odd ditty entitled "Daddy Fell into the Pond" (scroll down past "I Eat my Peas" and read it before you see the author's name just beneath it), which I would never in a zillion years have guessed was written by

Spoiler

Alfred Noyes, best known as author of "The Highwayman"!

P.S.:  If the contents of that spoiler box are mostly blank for you (as they are for me), just highlight them (as though you intended to copy them).  Weird, sometimes it does that and sometimes it doesn't.

 

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On 4/5/2013 at 2:46 AM, Carol the Dabbler said:
 

SHERLOCK: It’s highly unlikely that a left-handed man would shoot himself in the right side of his head.
[says the man whose flatmate is left-handed but shoots with his right hand ...]

Well, I rather suspect Mofftiss didn't think of Martin's shooting hand while writing the script. I wonder if any of them even noticed Martin is left-handed of ambidextrous. :D

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