This I Believe

Alexander - Chevy Chase, Maryland
Entered on December 20, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe I am a person who lives through my hands. Of course, this is true to some degree for everyone, but much more so for me. When I say that I live through my hands, I need to explain my conception of living. To me, to live is to learn, to play, to solve, to give and receive back, to build and to love.

I am a competitive fencer. I have spent many hours learning to use my right hand to hold my epee, and it has become skilled at instinctively executing many complicated ripostes, parries and other moves. Moreover, my hand has the ability to seemingly merge with my sword so that it becomes an extension of my body.

My hands help me to have fun and to play. I can juggle, which helps me to relax, to concentrate and to meet people. I am an amateur magician, and, of course, focus on card tricks and sleight-of-hand. Solving Rubik’s cubes is a passion of mine and my hands allow me to solve this complex puzzle in less than one minute.

I was trained to play piano with a classical approach, but now I prefer jazz. I love to jam with friends, and to create my own songs. I enjoy using my hands to feel my way through songs, and in this way, for example, learned a complex piece called Oriel Window, by Enya (for which no sheet music has ever been released) which I played at my brother’s bar mitzvah.

An important part of living is helping other people, and I am happiest when I can use my hands for the benefit of others. This year, I lent a hand (both of them actually) to Habitat for Humanity, building houses. Years of working in my dad’s tool room have made my hands deft at handling powerful tools, which let me create structures that both benefit people in need and improve life in my community.

I am a stage hand at my school. I enjoy building sets and doing other handiwork for the plays and musicals. As assistant stage manager last year, my hands helped me both draw blueprints and build the set. Stage crew allowed me to express my creativity by designing what I wanted the audience to see, and then using my hands-on expertise to execute my plans.

Not least, I experience love through my hands. Though scientists have traced many nerves, I don’t believe they have found the one that leads from your hand to your heart, and makes the latter jump when someone you love slips their hand into yours.

My hands are how I interact with the world. Every day I appreciate their versatility. Yes, my brain does deserve some recognition for all this, but brains always get the glory. I want to give a hand to the hands!