Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A short story

Reaching for shelfIt’s not fictional, though. It’s my life. 

When I got my check-up last week, I topped out at a towering 4’11½”. That may have been what triggered my recent dream about some really tall woman bumping into me at a buffet line, and my rather vicious response to her. (Something like “You gotta try the ground CHUCK, YOU.”)

I mentioned it on Facebook, because it struck me kind of funny. Our friend Stephen left a comment about my having a bit of a Napoleon Complex, but he must have realized that would unleash my inner pit bull, so he deleted it. Haha! It actually made me laugh, but I was quite prepared to get all up in his grill about it. It’s all part of being short. I learned a long time ago to not get upset or pissed about short jokes. They are inevitable. Another thing you learn is to sometimes make the joke first, before anyone else can get to it. It honestly doesn’t upset me to be teased about my lack of height, unless someone just gets stupid about and won’t shut up. Yes, yes, we all get it. I’m really short. (That wasn’t the case with Stephen. He teases, I laugh, I poke back, it’s all fun.)

It did get me to thinking, though, about how it has caused me to respond in certain ways to things. The physical portion is one part of it. I keep a step stool in the kitchen, and I use it often. I’m the grocery store’s worst nightmare, because I step up on the bottom shelf to get things on the top shelf. I’m a walking lawsuit. (Although I would never sue a store because of an injury due to my own behavior. I don’t think that’s right.) The psychological part is something entirely different. My Dad was not a big man. He was maybe 5’6” or 5’7”, and in his younger days, he was a skinny thing at around 125 pounds. I remember him telling me once that his Dad (also not a large man, but among many other things, he worked as a blacksmith...don’t screw with a blacksmith) told him that if he had to get in a fight, he’d better learn to hit hard enough on that first punch to make sure the other guy didn’t get up anytime soon, so he had time to run away. Haha!

Obviously, I’m not a fighter. If push came to shove, I think I could do some serious damage, but I avoid physical confrontation if at all possible. But I’ve learned over the years that normal-sized people will sometimes try to use their size to intimidate people of my size. They also seem to think that because we are small, we’re easy to push around and easy to manipulate. I’m also a fairly smiley sort of person, and it’s hard to get me riled.

One of the things I won’t tolerate, though, is people trying to manipulate me or take advantage of me, either because of my shortness or because of my mild manner. In my clubbing days, it wasn’t uncommon for me to throw a wild elbow once in a while, to get some idiot out of my space. I also will not hesitate to throw a wild mental elbow, just to make it clear that you are attempting to step on the wrong munchkin, and I will push back. I don’t go around all half-cocked and belligerent. But I can tell when someone is trying to intimidate me, either physically or psychologically, and I won’t have it. If you start sticking a finger in my face, you’re liable to pull back a bloody stump. The same goes for a figurative finger in my face (ooo, alliteration!).

Some people tend to underestimate me, because I’m undersized. That is their super-sized mistake.


  1. You might be height challenged, but, I'm guessing, you're pretty scrappy!

  2. Who could underestimate you?

    My friend Barbara refers to herself as vertically challenged and lets it go at that.

  3. i'm tall enough to jack someone in the neck if they mess with me- that goes along with your grandfather's good advice. i have had students who are taller than me try to intimidate me based on their size and it is like 'seriously' just because i am short doesn't mean you can roll over me.


  4. I had been 5' even since I was fourteen. At my last doctor's visit I was measured as 4'11". I said, "Are you SURE???" I hate that I've shrunk some. My mother is 5'1", but used to be 5'2". My father was 5'11", and his father was 6'1". Both my grandmothers were under 5' tall, and my maternal grandfather was about 5'7" or so. So there's a mix in my family on both sides of rather tall, and very short, with the short Irish usually winning out! (Another coincidence for you and me: -- my paternal grandfather was a blacksmith too!) My sisters learned long ago that I might be the youngest and the shortest, but to never underestimate me in a scrap OR a battle of words!


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?