Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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A Special Day

August 12, 2015


It seems that each day on the calendar has a special designation: Roller Coaster Day, Bad Poetry Day, Skyscraper Appreciation Day, National Donut Day, Hug Your Cat Day, Ship in a Bottle Day, Drinking Straw Day, Satisfied Staying Single Day. These are not made up and quite real. Not wanting tomorrow to go unnoticed among all these important holidays, I’d like to bring to your attention the fact that tomorrow has been set aside to honor those of us once considered deviants, poor wretches with an evil stigma—August 13th is the twenty-fourth annual Left Handers Day.


Here and now I’ll admit to being a “lefty.” Western Culture hasn’t treated us very well. The Latin word for “left” is sinistro, from which we get the word sinister, meaning evil or harmful. In Christian teaching, your guardian angel sits on your right shoulder inspiring you to be good, while the devil sits on your left shoulder urging you to be wicked.


Arab cultures don’t give lefties any respect either; in the Arab world you eat with your right hand and wipe your arse with your left—that is before toilet paper became available. Still, the left hand is considered unclean, so when criminals have a right hand cut off it’s doubly traumatic because you’re left with the one considered filthy.


When I was in grade school, some teachers did their utmost to discourage children from writing with their left hand. Many of these kids became stutterers or developed other problems. Some of the more enlightened teachers would hand out special scissors for art projects that came in a sheath with “LEFTY” written on it. I knew these teachers were trying to be kind, but I never could accomplish much with left-handed scissors and preferred the regular ones.


In spite of the stigma against it, many famous people were left-handed. I could have created an extremely long list, but here’s just a few:


Alexander the Great


Julius Caesar


Joan of Arc


Leonardo de Vinci




Isaac Newton




Napoleon Bonaparte


Benjamin Franklin


Mark Twain


Helen Keller


John Fitzgerald Kennedy


Pablo Picasso


Ronald Reagan


Paul McCartney


Bill Gates



Of course there were a few bad guys in the mix, like Jack the Ripper and the Boston Strangler, but for the most part, left-handed people are distinguished by their intelligence and creativity. So, on behalf of left-handed people everywhere, I celebrate being different. Those of you who were born right-handed but want to be part of our prestigious club, just tell people you’re a leftie. Who cares if it’s a lie. So what? A little fib never hurt anyone.


Strange, but the sinister urge to say that seemed to come from someone sitting on my left shoulder.






Are you or any of your children left-handed?





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I'm a lefty... too!
By: Daniel LaFrance on August 12, 2015
I don't have children of my own, but I am a left-handed as are my husband and step-daughter. I've always believed that left-handed people are more intelligent. Our current President is left-handed, too, so make of that what you will. I happen to think he is very intelligent! As an added note, I've always held scissors in my right hand, but I never even realized I was doing this until my mother gave me a pair of left-handed shears for Christmas years ago, and I picked the up with my right hand and started to use them! They sat untouched for years until they were given away.
By: BethB from Indiana on August 12, 2015
One of my sons & his wife are left-handed but I don't think their kids are. I'm forwarding this post to them. My left arm is stronger than my right--I throw a ball left-handed--but I write right-handed. I think my parents must have been told to keep putting the pencil in my right hand!!
By: fishducky on August 12, 2015
I write left handed and eat left handed, most strength related functions I am righty, but I think I think lefty.
By: cranky on August 12, 2015
Almost all of our recent Presidents have been left-handed. In 1992, all three major candidates for Prez were. It's some sort of Illuminati conspiracy. We're a nation of righties, ruled by lefties. I for one welcome our left-handed overlords. Mostly out of fear.
By: Katy Anders on August 12, 2015
I was a "forced lefty" for a year. I broke my right hand during the sixth grade when we were taking "penmanship" classes. I could produce readable though not "correct" right hand cursive while wearing the hand cast, so our teacher demanded I handle the pen properly and that meant with my left hand. My left hand coordination being what it was produced a "properly executed" use of the pen, but an absolutely deplorable script. I was graded on the quality of the script and barely passed. Lovely teacher eh? Her name was Florence Trader and she has become my poster child of a teacher who refused to listen to reason. There was a good thing to emerge from the months with a cast. I learned to dribble and even shoot with my left hand, which growing up in Indiana was a good basketball skill.
By: Tom Cochrun on August 12, 2015
I think left handed people are the ones who have the creative angel on their shoulder!
By: John on August 12, 2015
I'm sure I do, just can't think of anyone right now. Seems like so much damage is done when teachers force a left-handed kid to change.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on August 12, 2015
My son Genius is left-handed. I think he's pretty special.
By: Val on August 12, 2015
The BRD (Beautiful Rich Daughter) AND her brother are both left-handed.
By: Catalyst on August 12, 2015
My brother is a lefty but I wouldn't put him on that list of historical greats.
By: Pt Dilloway on August 12, 2015
Up until recently, my left hand was for decorative purposes only. It also gave my body some semblance of symmetry. Last year I injured my right shoulder and was forced to go lefty. It was not pretty and I never got the hang of it. Enjoy your day and uniqueness. By the way, in baseball, being lefty is an asset. .
By: Akansas Patti on August 12, 2015
Congratulations to all left handers, including my husband and all four of my children! (Yes, really.)
By: mimi on August 12, 2015
honestly, i have found left-handed men to be very sexy. watching them write... :)
By: TexWisGirl on August 12, 2015
None of my sibs nor any of our children are left-handed, BUT one of my sis-in-laws is and she's amazing! She can mirror write with her left hand and it's exactly like her regular left-handed writing! Plus she's brilliant!
By: Kathe W. on August 12, 2015
In the bad old days schools really messed lefties up. It's more enlightened today.
By: red on August 12, 2015
I'm extremely right-handed and can't do anything with my left hand. My youngest son is left-handed and - in my eyes - a genius. When we started suspecting that he was left-handed, my father-in-law was overjoyed - he finally had company as the only lefty in the extended family.
By: Pixel Peeper on August 12, 2015
My son and my Mom are left handed. They remind me that only the left handed are in their right mind pretty regularly.
By: Cherdo on August 12, 2015
I was fascinated by left-handers when I was a kid (my mother and only sibling were both lefties) and I spent many an hour trying to write with my left hand. My mother learned to crochet right-handed because that's how the patterns were written. I don't think I could do the reverse; my hat's off to her.
By: jenny_o on August 12, 2015
None of our children are lefties, but a couple of our grandchildren are. When I was in elementary school,(i.e. back in the Dark Ages) the lefties really got the dirty end of the stick when it came to handwriting class. They had to sit up straight, feet flat on the floor, just like the rest of the kids, but what was bad is they also had to position the writing paper the same way as the right-handed kids, and slant the letters the same way. They had to circle their left hand around the top of the paper like a contortionist n order to do this. And then they got "gigged" for having less-than-ideal legibility.
By: Susan Swiderski on August 13, 2015
I think my mom was a lefty who was trained to write with her right hand - she did everything else with her left hand: bat, bowl, throw... She had left-handed scissors too & she loved them :)
By: The Bug on August 13, 2015
My Dad is left handed. Like you, he can use "standard" scissors much more easily than 'lefty' style. He had a few tools from work that were made for left handers, but he mostly just learned how to use the others, and could use a right handed tool most times better than most right handers! Oddly enough, I have been trying to teach my kitten to sit up and touch my hand for a treat, and we have discovered she is a true 'southpaw', she uses her left paw for this task, or to fish something out from (or push things in) the couch, or even just batting at something, it's a left swipe! So, happy lefty day! Cat
By: Cat on August 13, 2015
Happy Lefty Day from a fellow Lefty!
By: Bouncin Barb on August 13, 2015
My daughter is left-handed. Nobody in my family is left-handed. My daughter is also attractive. Nobody in my family is attr...hey!!!!!!!!
By: Al Penwasser on August 13, 2015
This is an amusing post, Stephen. When I got up to bat as a kid playing baseball, one of the coaches said, "Oh, look out. He's a leftie! :)
By: Michael Manning on August 13, 2015
I am right-handed and so is my family. I have no kids but I had a friend in high school who came from Portugal. She told me how the nuns would slap her hands with a ruler because she was a left hander. She was "taught" to be right handed. I always thought that was the dumbest thing but it is all based on some religion even in ancient times
By: Birgit on August 14, 2015
When I played little league baseball I was a good hitter. I could smack the cover most young pitchers could lob at me, but left handlers were a different story. The lefty's seem to be hiding the ball which didn't seem quite fair to me.
By: Rick Watson on August 19, 2015
When I played little league baseball I was a good hitter. I could smack the cover most young pitchers could lob at me, but left handlers were a different story. The lefty's seem to be hiding the ball which didn't seem quite fair to me.
By: Rick Watson on August 21, 2015

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