The Left Hand and the Right

            As a man slept, his hands got to talking, which soon turned into an argument, in which all grievances were finally aired.

            “All you do is work,” the left hand grumbled. “You write, you point, you paint, you lift, you hold, and you stroke the chin of the head that ponders. You even punched a man in the nose once, remember? You’re no fun at all.”

            “Me?! What about you?” the right hand objected. “All you do is seek pleasure—you scratch, you stroke, you tickle, you caress, you rub and tug, and even relax when passions overtake you, which is constant. If I wasn’t around, nothing would ever get done, and were I not to defend us, we wouldn’t even exist, for feelings are fleeting, but death is forever.”

            “Typical mindset of a prude!” retorted the left hand petulantly. “What’s the point of being alive if you don’t even enjoy it?”

            “But do you enjoy it? Pleasure’s degenerative, and you’re insatiable,” the right hand rejoined. “Hence, I could very well ask you too, what’s the point of living if desire overtakes you? To dream a life away in a blissed-out state, having accomplished nothing for no one, serves no one, not even yourself.” Before the left hand could respond, the right hand continued, “If you had your way, all lucidity would be lost, and you’d transform this dream into a nightmare. In fact, we’d forget that we’re but dreaming, and lose ourselves in the process to stagnation and decay, snuffing out the creative spark that impregnates our very soul!”

            “And if you had your way,” the left hand countered, morosely but heated, “nothing beautiful would remain. We’d all be orthogonal automatons with no curves at all—golem creatures and dispassionate ascetics, blindly opposed to physical desires and the natural order of things. We’d banish our Mother Goddess to the shadows of irrelevance, and worship an uncoupled Father God until impotent. The popess would fall into obscurity and legend, and the pope would reign over us all, but with none of us as his children. Instead, we’d be random, useless eaters with inconsequential fates and frustrated destinies, replaceable and impersonal, like cogs in a machine of pointless materiality.”

            The right hand laughed. “You’re just mad because I always get my way.”

            “Yeah, that’s right,” the left hand peevishly bemoaned. “To be safe, you force me into austerity, and I can’t take it anymore!”

            Without warning, the left hand pounced on the right and attacked it in a whirlwind of fury, to which the right responded roughly in equal measure. Relentlessly, they pinched and squeezed and jabbed and fought like territorial prairie dogs on the outskirts of the middle of nowhere.

            “Do not resist me, right!” shouted the left, gaining the advantage.

            “And don’t resist me either, left!” cried out the right, regaining the upper hand.

            “You have no heart!” screamed the left uncontrollably.

            “And you no brain!”





            “Forget your facts!”

            “Forget your feelings!”

            As the physical conflict grew increasingly out of hand, the two feet spoke up. “Brothers, friends, what is all this tomfoolery? We’re both dorsal and palmar, symmetrical and not, two inverse opposites, as inseparable as two sides of the same coin. Without the other, we’d be incomplete and no sacred mirror, but together, we are whole and fulfilled. Now, enough of this babeldom! Let’s learn to forgive.”

            With palms opened and abashed, the two shook hands and found peace. Each resolved to look out for the other, glad it was there. Sometimes, when the left hand wasn’t looking, the right would massage its back, and sometimes, when the right hand wasn’t looking, the left would brush off from it, some dust. Each one protected the two, the right with more heart, and the left with more brain. And they remained close, thenceforth and beyond.