The curse of being tall

Apr 282005
Authors: Gavin McMeeking

I hit my head a lot. I've hit it on doorframes, beams, tree branches, overhead sprinklers (those really hurt), ceiling lamps and even stop signs. I've noticed one thing about my problem in the last few years – it never stops being funny to my "friends."

I suppose being a tall person is an excuse, but I have been freakishly tall my entire life (I was born in a Big and Tall Store). You think I'd eventually learn, but I tend to be a very s-l-o-w person. My height can be annoying on other, less-painful occasions, such as when I'm trying to have a comfortable flight on an airplane or trying to play hide-and-seek in a field of 5-foot bushes.

There isn't really a reason that you should care about my problem at all. It's not like I'm physically disabled. In fact, there isn't really much sympathy out there for tall people for some reason. As far as I know there isn't an American Association of Really, Really, Really Tall People representing our cause in the hallowed halls of Congress, lobbying for laws to increase the minimum height of doors, forcing stores to sell shoes larger than a size 12 or set aside a tall-person's awareness month that celebrates the historical contribution of tall people such as Abraham Lincoln or Yao Ming.

Part of the problem with such a group would be determining the eligibility of members. Is 6-foot-6-inches tall enough? Or do you have to be at least 6-foot-10-inches? What about for women? Or elves? If there was a 5-foot tall elf at the North Pole I'm sure he'd feel pretty strange … just ask Buddy. Would the group's taller members look down at the shorter members … well, I mean from the standpoint of superiority? Or vice versa? Perhaps I could establish such a group on campus. Would I have any other members who weren't on the basketball, football or volleyball teams? I would hope so, since I'm terrible at basketball. If you've ever seen me try to jump, you know what a pathetic sight it is. If not, just try to picture an elephant competing in the high jump.

Until a group is established, I'll just have to continue moaning about things like movie theater seats and jackets that are always too short. For example, I dragged a few people to some car dealerships with me last weekend to help me size up some potential candidates to replace the old plucky '77 Volvo station wagon.

Not that I'm actually thinking seriously about a new car yet, it was more of a curiosity to see what my options would be should the Volvo finally die. I would equate it to shopping for coffins on your way to the hospital or something like that.

Unfortunately, it was quickly established, thanks to combined efforts of American and Japanese carmakers, that I was pretty much screwed. Of course, if I had infinite amounts of money or I didn't have my deeply branded dislike of sport utility vehicles, there wouldn't be a problem. (Don't tell anyone, but I like sport utility vehicles and the people who drive them aren't that awful. So far they've been the only cars I've ever been comfortable sitting in. But don't tell my family or I'll be disowned.)

It comes down to this: I just can't afford a sport utility vehicle. So that leaves me with either trying to drive a Honda Civic with my head sticking out of the sunroof or two of the most beautifully designed vehicles in the history of mankind: the Honda Element and the Scion xB.

Both are giant boxes on wheels; shopping carts with engines and transmissions. In fact, the Scion bares a striking resemblance to a washing machine. And while I would love to be cruising around town in a sporty speed-machine, I'm afraid that I, just like others with crushing disabilities, must learn to live with what I've been given.

Sure, I'll probably end up driving an ugly car, but as you laugh at me driving down the road, tears of evil joy in your eyes, remember this: One day you'll be trying to watch a parade or a football game or a band and someone tall will stand in front of you. Then who'll look funny? Oh, it's stadium seating? What if I was to wear a really big sombrero? Yeah, now what have you got? Thought so.

Gavin McMeeking is a graduate atmospheric science major. His column runs every Friday in the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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