Tall guys have to be careful who they go out with. Wander around with another tall guy and the world will cower at your feet. Hang out with an average-sized guy and you'll still get admiring glances. Venture into public with somebody short, though, and you may as well glue a "Kick me!" sign to your ass.
I'm not talking about all the problems due to the height difference. Sure, the short guy will amble along just slightly slower than a disabled dachshund, while snails and Frankenstein scamper past. Then there's the impossibility of having a conversation: his mouth is roughly ten feet from your ear, which means you'll hear more audible words out of a seashell. Either you pretend to understand what he's saying and just randomly nod your head, or you actually make the effort and say "What?" every time he speaks. You're going to end up a frustrated hunchback, and he'll burn out his throat yelling like Grandpa. Both of you will be spitting nails, but it'll get worse when he gives you an ear trumpet for Christmas.
Now, all this is irritating -- I mean, I'd prefer a sweater -- but the real horror is how everybody else treats the two of you like a Ripley's exhibit sprung to life. The rudest folks whip out cameras to get proof to show their friends. You're not just interesting: you're one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and they'll snap away like you're the Virgin Mary floating over the Topeka Wal-Mart. They won't just stand across the street and worship from afar: they'll want to twist the pair of you into all sorts of insulting poses. "We wanna play up the height difference," drawls Wilbur from Bag ‘o Pretzels, Idaho, like a redneck Orson Welles. "Whyncha pretend yer stuffin' Tiny in yer pocket?"
"No, no, no," his wife Durlene protests. "Have Tiny sit on Lurch's lap, like a ventriloquist's dummy."
I hate taking part in these scenarios, though I can talk without moving my lips. I leave the house feeling like an average guy, and then these folks go and spoil it. I want to run screaming for a land where people are compassionate and considerate, but somebody's got to pry Tiny out of that teacup.
Worse than hanging out with somebody short is hanging out with someone heavy. Here's a weird phenomenon: Now the pair of you won't just look strange-- you'll transform into a number. The number 10.
Oddly, this is the only time I've heard of people turning alphanumeric. If Pamela Anderson kicked a skier nobody'd see RL. If Marlon Brando screwed Wally Cox nobody'd see Qr. When a pregnant lady frisks a midget, nobody sees BY.
But pause for a second near an overweight guy and suddenly everybody's an accountant.
Most embarrassing by far, though, is hanging out with a short female, because now everyone will assume you're having some kind of freakish relations. Now they won't just casually glance at the pair of you, or stare as you walk by. They'll chase you down the street, screaming in disbelief. They'll follow you home, pluck out their eyes, and roll them under your door to get a better look. And then the inquisition begins, always with the same idiotic question:
"Gawrsh, you're like ten dang feet tall, and she's eentsy as a mouse. How in the name of Our Good Lord Jesus do the two of you manage to have SAYYY-ex?"
Now, I get so confused by this I wonder if I'm doing something wrong. Height doesn't have anything to do with any of my bedroom activities, yet these folks give me the feeling I shouldn't let anyone under five foot eight take a ride. I mean, it's not like my partner and I aren't flexible. It's not like furniture doesn't exist. C'mon -- half the stepstools you see are like twelve inches high. They're not exactly made for changing lightbulbs.
I thought about this long and hard, and I narrowed it down to two possibilities. One, they're concerned that while our genitals are busy, our faces are too far apart to express affection. Sure, I'm not thrilled that my mouth is closer to the Australian outback than my current companion, but as long as our middles meet I'm fine. Or two, they're worried that our genitals don't match up when we're standing. Yup, it's true: I have to do a lot of crouching. It's good exercise, though. My arms may look like chopsticks, but my thighs rub together when I walk.
Still, I refuse to dignify this stupidity with an intelligent response. I shake my head. I wonder why I have to put up with this. I wonder why these idiots think that's a question you can ask a stranger.
And then I tell them, "I do it the same way you do it, except my relatives are in a different room."
July 3, 1981 - July 3, 1981, was another day before a holiday. The new President, Ronald Reagan, was recovering from gunshot wounds. There was talk of an era of conservat...
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