Am I WRITE or Wrong?

Hello once again to all of you gentle readers from your old friend Gumshoe. I was recently speaking with my younger brother Dennis this Friday afternoon and during our animated and subject “du jour” conversation, I advised him (to his amusement) that just like some folks are either right or left-handed, they are also either right or left-footed. He seemed happy for me to continue in this epiphany since we had time to chat and had we already solved the world’s problems and found the cure to the heartbreak of halitosis.

I further explained to him that unfortunate folks lost in the wilderness without a compass or a loadstar, will unknowingly (and much to their frustration) ultimately walk in either a right or a left circle after traveling a good distance over a period of time. They will eventually wind up back in the vicinity around their original starting point where their useless trek commenced.

Stay put is very wise advice.

I learned this at Officer Candidate School during a land navigation course.  I carelessly thought that “dead reckoning” was better than using my lensatic compass.

It was a very long sweltering day and a very frigid night as I was hopelessly lost in and about the Georgia marshes.  I ended up at my original point of departure. (#%$!) Staying put (out of sheer exhaustion) and waiting for daylight had me my finally use the compass and obtain the bearings and a quadrant for my self-rescue!  Dumb luck also played a part – God took pity on me I suppose.

NOTE:  The tried and true saying was “Nothing is more dangerous in combat than a Second Lieutenant with a compass and a map”.  GPS was not invented yet for us grunts.  God really does love grunts.

Okay, now in police workdays.

It may also surprise some of you folks that when suspects run and hide from the “po po” (ghetto slang for the police); they normally run on foot about 100 yards and they then hunker down to their left or right hiding spot based on their dominant foot preference. Strange indeed, but true from my experience. This lesson was learned back when I did police K-9 tracks with my late (and much loved) partner, Warrior Von Siegerhaus. A full/blooded German Sheppard.  I miss him!

NOTE:  The hidden scofflaws and miscreants became human dog biscuits for good old Warrior.  Happy ending!

ADDITIONAL NOTE:  Please refer to one of my yarns about Warrior that is titled “DEA Dog for a Day” for more insight.  Another happy ending!

Okay, back to my conversation with my bro Dennis. I mentioned to him that when I first attended parochial school at the tender age of five years old, I was a natural southpaw. The pedagogical approach at the time (strictly enforced by a ruler-armed nun) was to make me a right-handed munchkin. That 12-inch wooden ruler was laid on the top of my little brown wooden classroom desk (the type with a trunk lid style top) as a constant reminder to write RIGHT! (My left knuckles still have muscle-memory trauma).

My parents could not figure out why I would develop a very distinctive speech defect.  I could hardly be understood by anyone.  A true little alien my own homeland! Finally, it was recommended by the educational professionals to my puzzled parents for me to meet with a speech therapist (who was not “ruler armed”)

I was off every Saturday morning for about a year for these therapeutic sessions that consisted of me partaking in the verbal alphabet soup of “R’s” and “A’s” and “L’s”. The ad nauseam scraping of my 5-year old tongue under my top tooth or teeth (The ones I actually had or recently lost) to make sounds like hippo’s mating.  (Now I bet you can’t erase that mental picture!) My diction slowly improved and folks could soon understand my spoken words from my young reptilian brain!

Many years later, I learned from my mother that it was thought that I was mentally impaired. Funny, I think that a was very correct diagnosis based upon my past police escapades and my adult reptilian brain.  Go figure?

(Still have that hippo mating mental picture?)

I slowly adjusted to a “right-handed” world with my “Crayola” crayon-covered fingers and my childhood nightmares of the fusillades of wooden 12-inch rulers pursuing my left paw.  No bed-wetting thank Heaven! My speech defect also became less and less discernible unless I tried to speak too fast or I got too excited. Some things always seem to haunt you forever just like a guilty conscience or that missing sock from the dryer?

NOTE:  Even to this very day I can “lose my words” on the crossover in the dissonance between my left and right brain.  Learning Spanish as an on-going pursuit has helped my synapses – muey bueno!

ADDITIONAL NOTE:  Please refer to my earlier missives that are titled, Adventures in Espanol (Part 1 & 2) for some humorous examples, por favor.

Finally, I advised my dear brother that when I elect to sign my a “Gumshoe Hancock” signature or use my pen for cursive or printed script; I use a credit card edge (to keep it straight) with my natural-born LEFT-handed slant. Ruler be damned! My brother Dennis then told me that he always wondered about my very unique handwriting style on previous holiday and b-day cards.  Mystery solved!  Eureka!  The Rosetta Stone of brother Danny the Gumshoe’s hieroglyphics has been decided. I told Dennis that if he ever placed my writing up to a mirror, it would show messages from the neither world.  (Not really, I did not want to scare him and give him an adulthood trauma.)

NOTE: I know you will read this brother Dennis, so please don’t do the mirror thing unless you have an Exorcist at hand holding your hand.  You’ve been warned!

Well, dear readers, that’s my story and “yes” I’m sticking to it.  Always remember to love the ones who love you (Lefties or Righties) even love the ones who don’t.

FINAL NOTE:  Please don’t get me started on the ambidextrous brethren.

Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.
Please Login to comment
Notify of
Ken Vincent
Ken Vincent

Danny: You are right about being right or left-footed and walking in a circle without a correcting process or guide star. It is also interesting that when you get older and develop knee and/or hip problems those are most likely to manifest themselves in the dominant leg. Probably from walking in all those circles?


Great article with a better understanding of a person’s idea of what one part of the body does that the other thinks it should do. Not always getting things correct in speech doesnt’make it wrong according to our brainhousing, but it can cause problems to manifest itself over time. However, as we get older, who cares!



"Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives."


Powerful voices from around the globe that speak to our shared human experience. Add your story to our best-selling book series!



Must Read