I used to be 5′ 9″ tall. USED to be. Okay, if we’re going to be nit-picky, I was just a SKOSH under 5′ 9″, but everyone knows that the laws of mathematics allow one to “round up,” therefore I was 5′ 9″. It would be RUDE to take up people’s valuable time by saying something like:
I’m 5′ 8.75″ – but in these shoes, which have a 1.5″ platform I suppose that makes me 5′ 10.25″ – unless the shoes have compressed at the sole a little – Do you think they have? I may walk funny in them… which is underpronating and which is UNDERpronating – I think I do one of those, but I get them mixed up – Oh – you know what else I get mixed up is “myopic” versus – Oh HELL – I can’t even think of the other one at the moment… HEY – where are you going?
It’s more succinct just to cut to the chase and say, “I am 5′ 9″ tall.” EXCEPT, at my last doctor’s appointment, they measured me – TWICE (at my insistence – at different times and on two different contraptions) and I am FIVE FEET EIGHT INCHES TALL! I am a singer; I know how to stand up straight, so that’s not the problem. And they always squish your hair so it doesn’t add artificial follicular height. This is CONCERNING. I do have arthritis, especially in my neck, part of my back – and so on. And people’s spines do compress with age, therefore they lose height. But I think I am too young to actually be SQUISHED SHORTER!!! Is my arthritis worse than I thought? Is my lack of ankles catching up with me?? Am I doomed to spend the rest of my life fretting over my rheumatism, my gout and/or my bowels as though I were ninety-seven??? No, please.
But here’s the candid and most sincere confession: I’m MUCH more bothered by my missing height as an issue of vanity rather than health. At some point I lost part of my skosh and I was probably EXACTLY 5′ 8.5″ for a while. Losing a fraction of a skosh didn’t cause me too much distress. It’s that half an inch that’s driving me bonkers. WHO TOOK MY HALF AN INCH??? That wee, itty-bitty half an inch let me still round up and be 5′ 9″. Yes, that’s a little bit Amazon (and a little bit rock-and-roll?), but it makes you thinner. There’s the naked truth. On any chart, the taller I was, the better my surfeit of weight was distributed. And if you calculate your BMI, it helps there, too – losing that height LITERALLY makes me fatter if you compute the numbers as a measly 5′ 8″ rather than 5′ 9″. I used to rationalize that it was a real blessing that I was tall; if I weighed the same and was 4′ tall I would be SPHERICAL. So I want my damn half an inch back! I never was and never will be “long and lean” or “long, lean and lithesome,” but I was an AMAZON – a woman of SIGNIFICANT STATURE. I was “statuesque,” perhaps. Sometimes it was a powerful feeling. But along with losing that half an inch, I have lost that feeling of authority – of PRESENCE. I’m very angry about that. At this fantastically BIZARE point in my life, it would behoove me to only experience and concentrate on things that buoyed up my self-concept. And now I’ve ACTUALLY been taken down a notch.
DAMN IT – GIVE ME BACK MY HALF AN INCH!!! PUT ME ON THE RACK – STRETCH ME WITH BIG OL’ STRONG FOLKS PULLING FROM BOTH DIRECTIONS ON ALL MY LIMBS – I’LL DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING!
Yup – vain. Never really thought of myself as narcissistic in this respect, but my having been mysteriously squished has revealed a shallow facet of my character. Or should I say a facet of my character where I fall SHORT?
I’ve just had an epiphany: I AM shorty-greasy-spot-spot. And I had rather made peace with being crazy. Now I’m SHORT and insane – like a troll or something. SHORT hair, SHORT stature; NO ONE who hasn’t seen me recently will recognize me. Perhaps I shall now learn to revel in anonymity. Don’t be surprised if I decide to be a spy after all.