You know what’s cooler than having lots of skills? Having skills you can use with one hand tied behind your back. Here are our top 10 tricks that only take 25 per cent of your limbs to accomplish.
Obviously, there are a lot of things you can do with one hand. Here, we’re trying to avoid the obvious (like cutting and pasting text or unlocking your iPhone), as well as the things you’re all thinking right now (like unhooking a bra, or other things you’d rather not talk to your mother about). A few of these you may already know, but for the most part, we’re going for new skills you can learn today.
#10 Measure Distances
Did you know the distance between your eyes is one-tenth the length of your arm? Besides being a random fun fact, this tip can help you estimate distances using just your arm. Just stick your arm out, cover up the object with your thumb, and stare at it with your eye closed. Then, switch your open eye and sort out how far the object has “jumped” to the side.
#9 Strip Wires
You know what it’s like digging into a DIY project. You’re so excited that you want to do it all at once, without any regard to your personal safety or intricate details. So, if you want to unpack boxes with one hand while you strip and solder with the other, you can use this convenient one-handed wire stripping and tinning method to get the job done. Just don’t burn yourself, please.
Note that this one requires a bit of two-handed cheating in the first step, but if you really want to do it one-handed, you can always build a third hand that’ll hold the wire for you.
#8 Light A Match
From the “showing off at a party” files, lighting a match with one hand is a sure-fire way to burn yourself… or look cool (seriously, be careful with this one). It’s pretty easy to do with any set of matches, though if you have a set of strike-anywhere matches, you can even do it using just your thumb. Of course, if that’s a little too close to skin for you, you can always use your pants zipper as well.
#7 Do Anything On Your Computer
Image: Daniel Novta
We’d be remiss not to mention some sort of computer trick here — this is Lifehacker, after all — but after searching for the most mind-blowing keyboard shortcuts we could find, we discovered the true one-handed computer marvel is the fact that you can turn any action into a keyboard shortcut, on both Windows and OS X. That means you can do virtually anything on your computer with just a one-handed keystroke. Of course, if you’re looking for something a bit more impressive than that, you can always learn how to type one-handed, too.
#6 Get The World’s Attention
One of the skills everyone seems to be jealous of is the ability to perform that ear-piercing whistle with two fingers in your mouth. Whether you need to hail a cab or you just want to be the neighborhood’s morning rooster, it’s actually not that hard to do.
#5 Crack An Egg
We’ve talked about the top 10 things every budding foodie should know, but we neglected to mention one of the easiest things any aspiring chef can learn: how to crack an egg with one hand. It’s actually very easy to do, and you can probably learn it without wasting too many eggs in the process — especially if you have a few golf balls on hand to help you practice.
#4 Open A Beer
We’ve shown you countless ways to open a bottle without a bottle opener, but if you don’t even have a piece of paper on hand, you can actually open a beer with just your forearm. OK, so this one’s cheating just a tad, but you don’t actually need two hands — just two arms. Check out the video to the left to see how it’s done.
#3 Shuffle A Deck Of Cards
This one definitely takes some practice, but if you really want to be a cut above the other dealers at your next poker game (pun intended), you can learn this trick for shuffling cards one-handed. Cutting the deck with one hand is very easy, but that’s not going to fly with more serious card players, so check out the video to see some real one-handed shuffling. It’ll definitely take you a few tries to learn it — and probably a few games of 52 pickup — but it’ll be worth the effort when you can actually make it look easy.
#2 Tie Your Shoes
If you’re still tying your shoes with the granny knot, it’s time to upgrade. You can tie them in two seconds flat with the Ian Knot, or, if you’re looking to get a bit more impressive, you can learn Ian’s one-handed knot. You’ll only end up with one loop on your shoe when you’re done, so it might look a tad silly — but it works.
Alternatively, you can tie your shoes using a more traditional knot using one hand and one of your feet to keep one of the laces in place, as shown in the video to the left. The advantage of Ian’s knot is that it’s not only faster, but if you really want to get crazy, you can use it to tie both of your shoes at once. If that doesn’t get you access to the cool club, I don’t know what will.
#1 Eat A Chicken Wing
It sounds messy, but it’s actually less messy than the traditional, two-handed method of eating chicken wings. Not only do you only end up with sauce on one hand (because, you know, your other hand is holding your beer the whole time), but you don’t have to pick apart the bones. Just hold the larger end of the wing, push the meat down at the top, and eat the whole thing in one go. Try it once and you’ll never go back to eating wings with two hands again.
There are probably other neat, one-handed tricks out there, but these are our favourites of the ones we found. Of course, you could always include tricks that free up one of your hands — like this magnetic coffee cup — but we wanted to stick to the “one hand only” rule as much as possible.
Got any of your own one-handed tricks to share (you know, that don’t involve Chrome’s private browsing mode)? Tell us about them in the comments.
This story has been updated since its original publication.