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.