Height Challenged

If I was the shortest person in the world, the very first thing that I would do would be to make friends with the tallest person in the world. We would team up just to mess with peoples’ heads. Once a bond had formed (say after two to three months), he and I would travel the Earth having wonderful adventures and changing height perceptions one person at a time.

Can you imagine us in silhouette, purchasing desserts from a French p√Ętisserie? The sight would set hearts aflutter. Little French enfants would approach us timidly, asking for our autographs in their shy but curious voices. Instead of writing our actual names, though, my tall friend and I would have developed a little logo as an efficient yet personal way to satisfy these plebeians’ requests. Perhaps we would wear signature hats which we could incorporate into that insignia? Who knows.

Our sleeping arrangements would be quite amusing. My statuesque companion and I would sleep in a custom-made cot that would fit neatly into the overhead compartment of our private heli-jet. This cot would conveniently fold into quarters. I would take the lower quarter and he would take the other three. The image of us laying in this makeshift bed would be made available on a popular postcard that people could buy from amusement piers and tobacco stores for one slim nickel.

He and I would usually sleep head-to-head so that we could discuss our feelings about height and other subjects of the day as we gently drifted to sleep each night. However, if we were fighting (which I am confident would be a rarity), we would sleep feet-to-feet, fidgeting uncomfortably as our bitter words hung in the air. We may both be atypical physically, but we are still as flawed as all the Earth’s other creatures of more common elevations.

Speaking of which, the two of us would probably even have a cutesy term for people of average height. “Averagers,” we might call them. No, forget that. That was just a first draft idea. I can do better. “Middlekins,” maybe. I do not know. But whatever we come up with, we would only use that term in each others’ company. Covertly. If anyone ever overheard us, we would already have prepared a cover story so that no one would be offended. This would quite considerate of us, seeing is how little consideration is given to our feelings. “Do Unto Others...” we would have tattooed onto our clavicles.

But once the initial pomp had dissipated and we had completed the talk show circuit and successfully published our autobiographies - what would become of us then? Would one of us give in to the dreaded height-adjustment surgeries constantly being offered to us at no charge? Me with my bones being sawed (yuck!) or him having his lower legs removed and his feet reattached where his knees (now ankles) are? How are we supposed to get around in such a condition? Would the kids call us sell-outs? What have we become?

Or what if one of us marries a woman whom the other despises? That would certainly be the beginning of the end. Oh sure, we would put on a happy face in each others’ companies. There is an estate at stake here. A legacy. But once the booze and doughnuts had liberated our tongues, then harsh words would fly between us. It is one thing to deal with unusual height in yourself, but it is quite another to ask a significant other to accept your fate - especially when their particular abnormality lies on the opposite end. I can easily see one or even both of us spending several nights in the pokey as a punishment for punching out the other’s mate. Not long after that, the first tell-all book would be published. I can see its cover now, glaring at me from every newsstand and park bench in the city.

And then the real end would come. One of us would pass from this mortal coil. While it may be true that we are not Chang and Eng, after several decades attached at the hip in the abstract sense, the death of Mr. Tall or I would leave scars on the other that would never heal.

The best we could do, then - and we will both have already set up a fund for this - is to hire the local tinker to recreate the other in steamwork form. It will not look photorealistic, no, but the remaining member of our duo would at least no longer suffer phantom pangs of sorrow at missing the other. An outer layer of some kind of animal pelt (beaver? woodchuck?) could be adhered to the tin plates in an effort to provide some small degree of physical comfort when embraced.

Yes, we made our mark on the world, he and I. Would we have traded our lives for a more “normal” existence? Bite your tongue, mate. Go home to your average house, walk through your average doorway, and hug that average family of yours. Even after hearing my tale, you still have no idea what it was like to go through life at two feet three inches tall. And do not offer me your pity. Pity is the one thing that makes me sick. Well, that and cranberry sauce. So two things.

No comments:

Post a Comment