So if you know me at all – and some of you do and some of you kind of do and some of you don’t, but that’s fine – you know that I’ve never been entirely amused by short jokes. It’s not that they hurt my feelings, it’s just that I don’t get it. I’m not very tall. How is that hilarious? I do understand that sometimes it’s funny to see a shorter person try to get something off a high shelf, but I think that’s equally funny as watching a tall person bang their head on something. It’s just a thing. It hardly seems like a humorous thing in general, more only funny situationally. But whatever. Some people like to make short jokes. Fine.
I can tell you I am just not especially sensitive about it. Even I find this picture of me and some of my friends from last weekend hilarious. (Hello, friends!) Hilarious enough that every time I am with them, I take a similar picture. I’m just saying, I’m not uptight about not being very tall any more than they are about being especially tall. Which they all are.
And here is the thing I have been thinking about. Have you ever gotten in a short battle? Battle is probably the wrong word, but this is the Internet and it’s made for exaggeration, so just run the word “battle” through your Internet hyperbole filter to come up with something more appropriate on your own. So you’ll be on Twitter or something – it’s always Twitter – and talking about, maybe, pants. Pants is a good one because Twitter was made for helping others shop. And you – or me – offhandedly mention, “Well, it’s a little hard to find pants in stores, because I’m short, but a lot of retailers carry extended sizes like ‘extra short’ online.” (They do! That’s a thing!)
And you think that’s nothing, because it’s just true. You’re (I’m) short. It’s just a thing. It’s a fact. It’s not really up for debate. There is average, and then people who are above average are tall and people who are below average are short. It’s just numbers. But there will always be someone who wasn’t even involved in the conversation at all who will then jump in and say, “Well, how short are we talking? Because I’m eight and a half inches tall.”
And they’re not saying that because they have a hot pants tip for you! No, they just want you to know. Like, “HOHO, IN YOUR FACE! You think you are short? WELL I’M ONLY VISIBLE UNDER A MICROSCOPE, so what do you think about THAT?”
There’s that person, right, who needs to jump in to let you know that even if you thought you were X, they are MORE X, therefore… ?
And that’s where I get lost, because what exactly is the point there? Am I suddenly NOT short because you drink your tea from a thimble? That’s not a thing. I am still short. You being much smaller does not suddenly make me 5’10”. And they wait! They wait for someone to mention being short – WHICH MANY PEOPLE ARE, IT’S NOT A THING – so they can jump in to tell you what short actually is. What am I supposed to do here? Acknowledge your tininess? Present you with a medal for shortness? I guess this probably happens to tall people, too. You’re a lady and you’re 5’10”, maybe 5’11”, and you say, well, I’m tall, and some other lady snorts at you and is like, well, I’m 6’2″, so you’re actually not tall at all. BUT YES A 5’10” WOMAN IS QUITE TALL.
I feel like it’s kind of related to pain olympics, you know, where one person says I don’t feel well and the other person says, “I DON’T EVEN HAVE KIDNEYS” and you’re kind of supposed to be shamed into thinking actually you don’t feel so bad at all because at least you could pee your pants if you wanted to. And the winner of the pain olympics is the one who feels the absolute worst, so worst in fact that everyone else is forced to acknowledge that they actually don’t feel terrible at all. I guess it’s something like that. But no matter how short another person is, it can’t make me not be short anymore.
Or maybe it’s that there are people who need you to know that they are the very most of something. I am the most sick, I am the most weird, I am the most short. Which is now leading me down this whole path of wondering what’s wrong with just being normal? Because isn’t there always going to be someone sicker and someone less sick, someone weirder and someone less weird, and someone shorter and someone less short? I guess maybe it has a lot to do with people who haven’t ever really been able to totally shake the phase of feeling that being average or normal or standard is absolutely the worst thing that you can be, and I get that, but I don’t get it because I don’t feel that way.
This started out with me being annoyed about those people who always want to jump into conversations out of nowhere to make a pants discussion into a battle (“battle”) about who is the very smallest, and now it’s gone into a whole new thing I’m not prepared to think about this early in the morning, so I’ll just stop here.