On Getting the Short End of Things
April 16, 2007
When we were kids, my sister had a book called The Very Tall Little Girl, about a very tall little girl who hated being tall. She went through life bemoaning all the things she couldn’t do—ride a tricycle, fit in a small desk—until suddenly she realized all the things she could do.
I never did figure out what she had to complain about.
When I’m feeling negative, I like to say that my goal in life was to reach five feet tall, and it’s been the story of my life ever since—always one inch short of my goals.
I can’t ride a 26” bike. I can barely drive a car without the assistance of a pile of pillows. I can’t use the top shelf of my cupboards, and I can just reach the middle one if I stand on tiptoes. I can’t go into a store and buy a pair of jeans that don’t need to be either cuffed or shortened. Mid-calf skirts are ankle-length on me.
And then there are all the short jokes that are so integrated into our society that nobody even considers them offensive. It’s always the short end of the stick, getting short-changed, drawing the short straw. I sometimes wonder, why the short straw? Why not the long straw? Would it matter? No. But long—or tall—is good, and short is bad.
So now you other so-called “short” people are nodding in sage agreement. You’ve been there. No, you haven’t. I know numerous people who are five-two or even five-three and complain about being short. Yes, that’s short, but it’s “normal” short. One day I was shoe shopping and spied a pair of sandals with a three-inch platform sole. I tried them on, and had a revelation. “So this is normal!” I marveled, as I pushed my cart up and down the aisle without reaching my arms upward in an uncomfortable position. I gleefully admired products a row above what I can normally see. I could look other customers in the eye, not the neck.
I bought the sandals.
I don’t wear them much, because it really isn’t that convenient to be walking on a three-inch portable floor, especially when I forget I’m wearing them and go to kick them off and almost twist my ankle falling off them. However, they are very handy when I need a few extra inches to reach a nail to hang something around my house. And I occasionally like being able to experience life from a “normal” viewpoint.
If there are advantages to being short, I fail to see most of them. Perhaps I can see the dirt on my floor more easily, but it makes my arms ache to wash my counters, and the top of my refrigerator hasn’t been dusted since I bought it several years ago. I can only find one true advantage to being this short.
I can honestly say, I have never looked down on anybody!