The Long and Short of It; A SatireWorld Editorial

by on 12/11/14 at 7:17 pm

"yes, that's right.  A short man. No. not here!" "What I'm trrying to say old chap is that we have a short man right here in New Mexico. Yes, short!"

“yes, that’s right. A short man. No, not there! Here!”
“What I’m trying to say old chap is that we have a short man right here in New Mexico. Yes, short as in not tall!”

The Long and Short of It; A SatireWorld Editorial

Las Cruces, NM – (

I’ve never personally had a problem with my height. I’m 5’8″, which is in the normal range, but my mother has never been able to accept that one of her children is “vertically challenged” (she won’t say “short”). I have never dunked a basketball and never will. If you lowered the height of the basket to seven foot, I am still so uncoordinated that it would not look very graceful or athletic if I tried a dunk.

I am the oldest child in my family and stood by while all of my siblings (even my sister) passed me by. They all ended up 5’11” or taller, with one brother topping out at about 6’5″. All of my cousins on my mother’s side also ended up passing me by (including females) while they were growing up. This was the case until my Aunt Kim had two daughters that did not achieve gargantuan height (thank you, Kim!).

My father was just over six foot tall and my mother is about five and a half feet tall. I guess that she felt that all of her children should be well over six foot, but it didn’t happen.

Let me begin by saying that I love my mother in spite of her faults. She also loves me…. but she has always wanted to love “more” of me… and that “more” needed to be in height, not width.

As a child, my mother always bought my clothing a couple of sizes too big so that I had “room to grow.” I wouldn’t have minded this so much, but it never seemed to stop! It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that she stopped buying me pants for Christmas that were three or four inches too long. I’d complain every year about having to exchange them or have them tailored, but she still said that I “might grow into them.”

Nope. Nothing. Never happened. I’ve needed pants that were either 28″ or 29″ inches in length since I was seventeen, but she always kept buying me 32″ inch lengths until after my youngest child was born. My problem now is that I generally have to buy 30″ length for myself because the shorter sizes are almost impossible to buy off the rack.

A major embarrassing moment came when I turned eighteen. I had to go and have my driver’s license renewed and my mother just happened to be with me. The person behind the desk was updating the vital statistics and wanted my height and weight. My mother told them that I was six foot tall. I corrected and said that I was 5’8″. She looked at me and screamed in a shrill voice in front of the clerk that I was still growing and would be six foot tall before that renewed license expired. The clerk gave me a sympathetic look and put down what my mother requested.

Nope. Nothing. Never happened. The next time I went in to renew my license, I had the height corrected back to the right number.

Luckily, I never got stopped for a speeding ticket and never had to explain the height discrepancy during this time period.

I was, however, six foot tall for a couple of years… at least according to official and legal documents from the state of Texas.

Another huge incident of embarrassment came when my Mom took me to the doctor during my high school years about my height. I was not sick and all of my shots were up to date. We were just there because my mother was concerned that I was not growing enough. The doctor told her that some people were late bloomers on height and that I was in the normal range and she needn’t worry.

This was not good enough.

She insisted that I be given some sort of drug that would increase my growth. The doctor went and looked it up and came back a few minutes later. He said that there was a pill that could sometimes affect the pituitary gland and stimulate growth. He told her that it was not a hundred percent effective and was rather expensive, but she insisted that I needed this medication.

About the time this happened, my father was in a vitamin kick. Every morning, before going to work, he would fill a little cup for everyone in the family with their vitamins that they needed to take. This wasn’t a simple “One-A-Day” or “Flintstone’s Chewable.” It was a cup with about ten different vitamins covering much of the alphabet. Every morning, after the doctor visit, I would find a little blue growth pill in my Dixie cup of vitamins.

Now, I usually palmed the vitamins and never took them as I thought this was stupid. I ate a pretty balanced diet and didn’t need to choke down a handful of lousy pills to make me healthier. I just threw these away. The growth hormone pill quickly found the trash can with the rest of them as well.

The growth results of this pill?

Nope. Nothing. Never happened. Even on the occasions when I had to take the tablet because a parent was standing in front of me, it didn’t cause me to grow.

Several months later, on a trip to the doctors office when I actually was sick, I got a chance to speak to the doctor (my mother was outside of the room). He asked me how the growth pills were working and I told him that I wasn’t really taking them and just throwing them out. His response was “good! They were just a placebo to satisfy your mother anyway. There’s nothing wrong with your height.”

Way to go! I loved Dr. Miller!

Today, I am fifty three years old and my mother is seventy five. I think that she may have finally made peace with my height. She doesn’t ever complain that my son is only 5’6″ (his mother was barely five foot tall, so it must be the fault of her genetics). In fact, my son is given gifts of clothes that actually fit him without the growing room (and he is only twenty one).

I’ve driven my mother cross country to family funerals and baptisms and such and she has never complained about having to adjust the seat or mirrors when we switch off driving (we’re close enough to the same height that the settings are just fine). I hope she sees this as an advantage of my being shorter than my siblings.

When I was younger, I did have a problem with my mother not being able to accept me for who and what I was, but other than that, my height has never really been an issue for me. I will admit a small thrill, however, when I get up at a podium after a shorter person has spoken and I have to have the height raised for me; this makes me feel eight feet tall!

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