Home Header Section

Something Sinister This Way Comes

Did you know something could be sinister in a good way? In another effort to convince you, the reader, that I have far too much weird and useless information rattling around in my head, I will provide the etymology of 'sinister' which will provide an elegant segue into this week's special.

Sinister comes to the English language almost directly from the Latin word 'sinistra' meaning 'the left-hand side'. The Romans, however, also used sinister to refer to something evil or unlucky. For reasons we'll discuss shortly, the "left-hand" definition has been largely ignored for the past hundred years or so. Today only a few people, all of them lefties I'll wager, use sinister to mean anything other than evil, unlucky or malign.

So how did the left-hand side get such a bad rap? One theory is that ancient people, living in the northern hemisphere and worshipping the sun, would have associated moving towards the right with good and proper things, as this is the direction that the sun (God) followed through the sky. Conversely, anything moving in opposition to this must be evil.

All of this might only be a quaint historical footnote in my dictionary were it not for the fact that people have been executed simply for being left-handed. During the 1600's, left-handedness was considered to be a sign that one was associated with the devil and, therefore, a witch. This is probably due in large part to the diabolic associations given to the left hand in the Bible.

Interestingly, misunderstanding of left-handedness continues to this very day. Parents still try to "fix" their left-handed children by encouraging -- sometimes even forcing -- them to write and draw with their right hands. Thankfully, this is not as extreme as it was even within the past several decades. Lefties in their fifties can probably tell you stories of having their left hands tied to their desks by teachers eager to correct a student's "handicap."

But even though approximately 11% of the population is left-handed, most tools, furniture and even driving customs favor right-handed people. Some have even theorized that lefties may experience a higher risk of accidental death or injury because of this! While the data supporting this theory is still shaky, it's certain that lefties frequently struggle with products that were just not designed for their use.

Never a company to ignore the needs of any of our customers (here's that segue I mentioned) Theatre Effects offers almost all of its handheld effects in both right and left hand styles. We understand that, whether you're shooting a ball of fire from your fingertips or making sparks explode from your hand, you need to be able to work comfortably and safely with our products.

So come on you lefties, southpaws, sinistrals, goofy-handers and maladroits! You can rest assured that our products will work the way you need them to. Of course, if you're ambidextrous you can always pick up one of each! 


Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579


Copyright Notice - no portion of this article may be reproduced without written permission. You may place a link to this page on your website provided you do not hide it within a frame or window.