Friday, October 26, 2007

Tall People

A song called "Short People" came onto the radio this morning, and I paid attention to the words, and the chorus in particular disturbed me: "Short people got no reason to live." I don't think a folk song should be advocating suicide, just because someone is height challenged.

I also challenge the world to consider the detriment of being tall. Only a tall woman can relate to the following painful memories of childhood:
1. Wanting to shop at the same stores where all the other girls buy their clothing.
2. Wanting to buy your first pair of high heels, and realizing that none of the cool stores carry a size 11 or 12 women's, and having to go to the Ugly Shoe Store for Old Ladies to buy some hideous Orthopaedic pair of "comfortable shoes."
3. Never being "cute."
4. Going to a bowling birthday party and being told in front of all your friends that they don't have your size in a women's shoe, you will have to wear one of the men's bowling shoes. (Like you don't feel awful enough already in a bowling shoe...)
5. Maintaining poor posture and slouching to the height of the group, so that you can feel like you are at eye-level.
5. Having limited dating options, or actually dating someone who is at least a head shorter than you, and seeing your reflection as a couple in the mirror for the first time, and feeling like you are Shrek and he is Princess Fiona, when she is not an ogre.

One of my grandmothers had a size 12 shoe, quite rare for a woman of that generation, and unlike today, there were zero options to walk into a normal store and buy normal fashionable foot ware. My other grandmother bought me a book called The Tallest Girl in the Class, a story about this girl in the fourth grade felt like an outsider and a freak, until she was picked to play the Christmas tree in the pageant, because she was the tallest person in the class. The children's book does not specify if she needed therapy later in life.

In elementary school, because I towered over both the girls and the boys, I was chosen to play Mordechai in the Purim musical, which we performed in front of the whole school. In retrospect, I would like to question the intelligence and sensitivity of putting a shy tall girl in a beard. My best friend at the time, Karen Zomick, got to play Queen Esther, because she was petite and "cute."

Today as an adult, I appreciate the many ways in which I am outside the box, my height being only one factor through which I stand out in the crowd. Tall people have stature and authority; my three brothers each stand over six feet. If I were thin enough, I could be a super-model. Quite content with my body and my build, I have no desire to lose a few inches, I will lose an inch and a half from my spinal discs as I get older anyway (as all humans do over time).

Maybe I ought to sue my elementary school for my not being married, because they caused gender confusion and set back my self-confidence. Anyone want to take on the case?

3 comments:

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Lazy said...

Can I sue my school as well?

alyssa said...

Short people some has a satirical nature of the song: It was far from hateful and instead poked fun at prejudice. read this excerpt http://books.google.com/books?id=QiJRvuXA_VcC&pg=PA262&lpg=PA262&dq=true+meaning+of+short+people+randy+newman&source=web&ots=d8dhIVIoTC&sig=wwoAb2-k0NBK8LbYmsFSjCngwe4&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=8&ct=result

(Newman himself is a short individual)