Every now and then I feel driven to tackle the big issues in life.
No, not politics. Not religion. Or not even why car tires keep getting bigger around and more expensive, but still wear out at the same mileage.
The first big issue is: How come tape measures are all marked backwards. First, to qualify this: Like 90-plus percent of people, I am right handed. We buy therefore 90 percent of tape measures. Because we’re right handed, we hold the marking pencil in our right hand. But wait, we cannot, because that hand has the tape measure.
Yet, when we stretch out a tape measure with our right hand, from left to right so we can read the numbers, we are expected to have the pencil in our left hand? To mark the board with our left hand? To make the mark cleanly and crisply with the hand that honestly can do nothing and never has.
Uh, huh. I’d be better off holding the pencil in my mouth, as opposed to shattering the lead in a spastic attempt to make the pencil cooperate left handed.
Whereas should the tape be held with the left hand, which it can just about handle, and it’s pulled from right to left, then the left hand’s job is done, and all it has to do is sit there and wait for the talent to make the mark.
Which brings me to the second large issue: The fact that almost all plug-in circular saws have the blade on the far right side, where those of us holding the saw in our right hand cannot see. Unless you bend over there to look and want to get bombed with a snoot full of flying wood fragments.
Now, this may reflect back to the manufacturers of the tape measure, who figure we’re going to make a disaster of a pencil mark with our left hand that it doesn’t matter whether or not we can see the line where the circular saw is cutting. That’s one suggestion.
Another suggestion as to why the blade is over there goes back to when these saws were first invented, when engineers thought people would be so frightened by that spinning, howling, vibrating finger-hungry blade that it was better to keep it over there out of sight. Lest the customers not buy the saws.
Another less convincing argument is that with the blade over there, the nut that holds it on is a conventional right-hand thread, and people obviously are way too stupid to learn anything else. (This theory reeks of engineer-speak, and a meeting where the engineers jargon-railroaded everyone else into believing such a preposterous theory.)
And if you’re going to argue some other barely- rational reason for why the blade is on the other side, then you’re going to have to explain why all cordless circular saws have the blade on my side. Good luck with that. (One other reason, which has some credibility: The first of these made were so, so heavy and clunky that they wanted the bulk of the weight sitting on the board piece that didn’t fall off when cut. Which still doesn’t explain why now that they’re lighter, they don’t change it.)
And the final large question in my mind: Why are womens’ shirt buttons on the wrong side. In a moment of confusion, I asked this question of a daughter who makes tons of costumes and clothing, and she said: Because your’s are on the wrong side, dad.
Obviously, somewhere along the line, she was raised wrong. Nonetheless, I went looking to see if this truly was a great question that had been addressed already, and sure enough, it was.
My daughter did also say that she thought it had something to do with the fact that for years, women had lady’s maids to help them get into those gawd-awful hifalutin dresses that seemed to spring up in the Victorian period. You know, the ones that you could go tenting in. Camp in the Rockies in. Have a circus in. The ones that were said to take so much fabric that the expression “The whole nine yards” was invented.
But, further research went all the way back to when armor was first invented, and the shield was held in the left hand so the right hand could hold the sword.
As did your opponent, which meant he was stabbing at you from your left to your right. Then, if his sword slipped off your shield and struck your armor, then slid off to your right, you were better off if the left side of your armor overlapped the right, which prevented the sword from poking through it into your gizzard.
Which meant that men’s buttons are on the right, and womens’ aren’t, because they didn’t sword fight so much.