Friday, November 4, 2011

Not The Man I Once Was

     I’m the tallest man I know, but only when I sit down. I’m 5’8” when standing—the height of the average American thanks to Hispanics and Asians—but seated around a dining room table I tower over everyone. I know what you’re thinking: You must have an ass as big as a Rose Parade float, but I don’t. Well, maybe the size of those carts that scoop up the horse poop. The problem is my legs. They’re too short, not Toulouse Lautrec short, but Boys Department short. 
     Someone seated behind me in a theater once whispered to their companion, “Why do I always end up seated behind someone tall?”
     Before sitting down I’d purchased a drink the size of the Statue of Liberty’s torch. I had to pee like a stallion halfway through the movie but I stayed in my seat until the credits rolled and they left. I didn’t want to disappoint them.
     Back when I was a teenager and realized I probably wasn’t going to grow much taller, I asked my mother why my legs were so short. She said, “You have the legs of a doryman.”
     “What does that mean?” I asked.
     “Your ancestors were fishermen and Whalers in the Azores. They spent a great deal of time in small boats rocking about on the waves. People with short legs are more surefooted, less likely to fall out of a lurching boat.”
     This from a woman who didn’t believe in Darwin or natural selection, and thought cave men rode around on brontosauruses like the Flintstones. Like many of her answers, this one was off-putting: I had no intention of becoming a fisherman. I’m not fond of fish, I get seasick and now I feel responsible for harpooned whales. So I’m stuck with the legs of a doryman, far far from the sea. 
     But short legs are the least of my problems. Once I was 5’8.5” tall. My doc recently told me that I’ve lost half an inch over the last five years. I’m not good at math but I’m willing to bet a mathematical formula exists that can determine when I’ll disappear completely. But I doubt I’ll be worrying about it for long. Although I pride myself on learning something new every day, at my age I forget two things daily. I don’t need to know much about math to realize it’s only a matter of time until my brain is a clean slate.

      Is nature toying with you? Are you shrinking or falling apart? Let us know about it. You’ll feel better.  


  1. Let's see, half an inch over five years, that means in 2111 you'll only be four feet tall, which will probably be better than six feet under.

  2. So funny! Lately I've been startled to see my grandmother's hands where mine used to be. How did they get THERE?

  3. I'm 60 so yes I'm shrinking too. I used to be 5'8" too but I was mostly legs. Tall for a woman so that worked for me. As for falling apart. Yep that's happening little by little. Age is funny that way, or not.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  4. Legs only have to be long enough to reach the floor when standing, Stephen. So yours aren't too short.

  5. I'll admit I'm shrinking in height, but lets just not discuss girth, OK? I WAS 6', but I'm probably a bit less than that now. As I see it, as long as my friends are shrinking at a similar rate, who cares?


  6. May I suggest being drawn and quartered... nothing like getting pulled by a horse to stretch you out!

  7. Aha! Both my height and girth apparently have been shrinking of late.

  8. The last time I was measured at the doctor's office I was down to 5' 3 ¾" - down a quarter of an inch. And I don't really have that much to lose, height-wise!

  9. I always thought I was 5'3" tall. I was in my thirties when I discovered I'd grown 2" along the way and never noticed. My legs are still proportionately short. "Ducks' Disease" my riding teacher used to call it.

  10. That was a great post Stephen! I really enjoy your humor! I'm 40, and have already shrunck a whole inch!!! My 19 year old daughter, and my 17 year old daughter are both taller than me. My mom is filipino, and stands at 4"9, my Dad is Caucasion, and he stood at 6"3, (and he was the shortest of his siblings)- so I came out average I guess, at 5"5, with 2 younger brothers taller than me.
    I too can NOT stand math- so I'll leave it to you to figure out when I'll be disappearing! haha
    Also - I gave you an award on my blog today! Come by and grab it when you can :)

  11. Michelle My Bell: Thanks for mentioning me on your blog. I tried again to join your blog and this time it worked. I look forward to reading more. Congratulations on that award.

  12. love this story, and for once someone actually had managed to talk about this short-legs and long-torso thing.
    mine is quite the opposite really. at 5', i look terribly juvenile when i sit down cuz my legs are long. hate it, and i feel fat all the time. yikes.


  13. I walk like a Bo'sun, but what's a girl to do?