In a white centered nation, non whites feel their non whiteness keenly. In a Christian nation, non Christians feel the overwhelming presence of Christian norms. And in a nation of average sized folks, tall folks feel left out too.
I thought of this Friday night as I lay upon a too short bed in a suburban ER, waiting for someone to attend to my arm. At the time I was in agony after a fall. I thought my arm was broken - it turned out to be a dislocated elbow - not an important difference for this story. Two hours later, when they finished up, my wrapped-up arm was placed in a too small sling. It was the biggest they had but it was still a bit short of the mark.
It has always been like this.
Growing up, I was always the tallest in my class - at least until high school. Finally one kid showed up who was maybe 1/2 inch taller (he played on the basketball team). I ended up just a bit under 6’4” and at the time wore size 13 shoes. I went to Catholic school and so wore dress shirts and sport coats. By my sophomore year, I needed a size 36 shirt sleeve. My aunt was an inspector for Brooks Brothers in their shirt department, and she would find seconds in my size and bring them to me to wear. To this day I love Brooks Brothers button down oxfords.
Over the year, my feet got bigger. By 40, I wore size 14s and now I need 15s. And when I say big, I don’t mean BIG with a with a wink that suggests that something else is big too. My big feet are big on their own.
Since I despise Donald Trump, I love how his small hands have been used to suggest that he has a small penis, but I know there is no correlation between the size of someone's hand and penis size. Still, a relatively big penis makes a man feel adequate, and a small one makes him feel …. small. And trust me, just as George Costanza was humiliated when Jerry’s girlfriend Rachel saw his tiny penis after he had swum in the cold ocean, so too Donald Trump IS embarrassed that his small hands make folks think he has a small little Donnie.
Oh, and if you gals think that penis envy is so… MALE, well, judging from your lingerie, you gals take the same pride in your breasts.
Let me add a funny story about the encounter of a big person with a small one. My wife (then a graduate student) was the small one. I was hit by a car while we shared a walk in the country, our first date. Since I would be laid up for a few days, she decided to do my laundry, which at the time consisted of t-shirts, underwear, handkerchiefs and dungarees (or jeans to those of you who are under 60). She dutifully took my laundry to her local laundromat and when she pulled my clothes out of the laundry, was shocked at just how long my jeans were. She asked the others in the laundromat and everyone agreed that she must have stretched them out in the wash. When I was out of the hospital I could see that they weren’t ruined. That neither my wife nor the rest of the women in the laundromat had the least idea of how long were jeans with a 36” inseam. Still, at 5’2”, my wife has no sense of my size To this day, my wife cannot buy me clothes.
And yes, I know that my size is not all that remarkable, but it is enough. It helps when I want to see a parade but it is lousy when I am trying to fit my body into the space allotted in an airplane’s coach seats. Invariably the person in front tries to recline his or her seat, and they keep jamming their setback into my knee. I don’t speak up, but eventually they figure out just why their seat won’t go back.
The biggest disappointment has been with clothes. I never was able to find a decent jeans jacket in my size (I can now, but its too late). And when I need a new pair of shoes or socks, it has always been a trial. Less so nowadays, but even Zappos tends to run short of the 15s.
I really love Merrill’s shoes, but since I moved up to 15s, almost no Merrill’s followed me.
I am not fat, by the way, just 210 lbs, so fine for my height but a few years ago when we planned a trip to Grand Canyon, I found that for the long mule rides, you can weigh no more than 200lbs - with your gear. Oh well, no way to make that weight. The shorter mill rides can take up to 225 lbs.
We tried a 3 hour bike ride instead. Perfect.