Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"Welcome to 'Short'"

Where do I start with this? 

I guess it is here.

Not all Jews are short.  Of course, not all Scandinavians are blond.  It just seems that way.  It’s the same thing with Jews and “short”.  My friend Morrie is tall.  That is my entire personal list.

Looking back, the foregoing concern is never entirely absent from my mind.  In my Sociology class in college, I imagined a sociological experiment, a comparative study examining the relationship between crime and height.  (I discovered a direct correlation.  Although, coming clean, I may have unconsciously skewed the statistics.)   

Jumping chronologically ahead, during my toast at Anna and Colby’s wedding, I suggested, since Anna’s new husband was six-foot-four that “Colby is a welcome addition to the ‘Pomerantz Gene Pool’.”  Gratuitously adding, after skillfully timing the subsequent laugh, “Six foot-four is a Pomerantz standing on a chair.”

What can I tell you?  The truth is funny. 

Though we are admittedly not a tall family, I myself never felt particularly challenged.  That’s because, at five-foot-seven, I am taller than my older brother, which is the only relative comparison that matters.  (With humble apologies for the “relative.”)
Here’s the thing.

American culture values height.  Of course, it makes a huge deal about skin color so what do you expect? 

In a study concerning the heights of presidential candidates, cultural scientists – who appear to have an inordinate amount if time on their hands – observed that since 1900, the taller candidate has captured the American presidency nineteen times, while the shorter candidate has prevailed eight times. 

The only noticeably short winners (on the list I looked up) were presidents elected in our country’s earliest era.  James Madison was five-foot-four.  I have no idea who Madison ran against, but I can’t imagine the guy was shrimpier than that.    

Who knows?  Maybe back then, five-four was a reasonable height.  (What’s interesting is that they bothered measuring the candidates at all.  Somehow, height has always seemed to be important, voters drawn reflexively to the taller competitor. 

If George Washington had been five-three-and-a-half rather than six-two, it might have altered the course of American history.  Word is, George the Third himself was lineally tall.  Although cursory research suggests that nobody ever went up and said, “Excuse me, Your Majesty, do you mind if we measure your height?”  That appears more an American concern.  Plus, it is terrible manners to approach a Divinely ordained monarch with a tape measure.)

Anyway…. I’m stalling.  I could have easily removed the previous paragraph were I not trying to delay the inevitable.  And this disclaimer is hardly indispensible itself.


Okay.  I’m ready.

While acutely aware of the vertical continuum, I have been relatively content being five-foot-seven, probably due to my winning the “Head-To-Head Brotherly Height Sweepstakes.”   Though no one has ever unironically called me “Big Guy”, the “Familial Advantage” set me off on a confident trajectory.   

Then, not long ago, visiting my cardiologist for my annual checkup, the office nurse measured my height…

You likely now know where this is going.  But in the name of getting there no sooner than necessary, one last strategic digression.

Why the fu… sorry, I have intense feelings about this…

Why the heck do cardiologists need to know how tall you are? 

ANXIOUS CARDIOLOGIST:  “I can’t reach his heart!

Anyway, for some unfathomable reason, they dutifully calibrated my height.  And for the first time since puberty…

I am no longer five-foot-seven. 

No, Wise Guy, I am not taller.  I have dropped down, to the top echelon of that measurement but still

The high five-foot-sixes!

(My salvaging consolation being that my older brother is shrinking commensurately, so I continue to be “the taller one.”)

It was a traumatic revelation.  All my life, I have been hovering within “shouting distance” of the “National Average.”  Now suddenly, I am shriveling into the abyss.

And that is all I have to say about it. 

This post may be somewhat shorter than it usually is.  But now, apparently…

So am I.


JED said...

If it bothers you too much, you could try what Barney Fife did when it was time for his physical and he found he, too, had gotten a little shorter.

If it's any consolation, I am an inch shorter than I was at my highest point.

Jim Dodd

YEKIMI said...

When I was 17 I broke my foot. After X-rays at the hospital the doctor came out and asked "Do you like how tall you are?" I answered "Weird question but never gave it much thought" and he said "Get used to it, your growth plates are almost closed so you'll maybe grow a 1/2 inch to an inch more". I ended up growing an inch more so ended up at 5'02". Didn't bother me, come from a short family and actually split the difference between the height of my mom and dad. Flash forward a few decades and a broken neck appears on the scene. After they take bone from my hip and jam it in my neck to fix the broken part I end up being 5'05". 15 years later I am now doing my "Incredible Shrinking Man" impersonation and losing height and am now down to 5'04". I'm assuming that at that rate I'll be back to my teenage height in 30 years or maybe expired before that happens.

Green G. said...

Guess I'm fortunate to have a Dr. that doesn't check my height each year, just my weight.