Short and Happy
by Ed Utter
July 2006

OK, OK, OK, I'm a man and I have lived for 65 years, many of them at five foot four and some of those years at five foot three (one loses some height with age), so I feel like I know at least something about height and how it affects a person. I have spent probably too much time analyzing the condition and I seem to have a different outlook than most of the writers on this web site.

That is not to say my view is the only view, or even the correct view. It is just my view and I feel compelled at least to explain it. So if you will ignore my lack of writing talent I will present a different way of viewing and accepting our size. Yes, I said accepting our size, because I have learned to accept and actually enjoy being five foot three. Have I got your attention yet?

First, I think I know, or at least I have a theory (The Utter Theory of Size Discrimination) about why height is so important to humans. It is not just something that we made up in our own minds. Height is really important. If you say it is, to anyone who is tall, you will get an immediate response and they will explain to you how wrong you are. It's like a rich person that has eaten cake all their life telling a poor person that it really isn't any better than plain bread. Then they cite Napoleon. I would like to have a dime for every time I heard the name "Napoleon." It seems that is the only example they can think of and it never occurs to them that it is so odd for a leader to be short that it is worthy of note. Even Napoleon couldn't escape the stigma of being short. He was and is called "The Little Corporal," not "The Great General and Emperor."

Test yourself, do you know how tall "any" other leader was or is? President Bush? William Clinton? It might be fun to test others. All we know is that they are tall. We also know that a short person doesn't have a chance of winning a presidential election: because of his, or her size. They will not even get a nomination, because those who control the political party are not going to nominate someone who cannot win. Can you imagine all of the "short jokes" if a short person were to be nominated?

We all know size does really matter. Perhaps in some way growing tall clouds one's mind. I am not tall, so I cannot make that assumption from that angle. I only see the results. Tell some tall person that size matters and they will lie to you and say it doesn't, when they understand that it really does. They prove this when they laugh at, and make up short jokes (you don't think we made up short those jokes do you?) In all fairness, I think it is a white lie. They tell it because they don't want to hurt our feelings. But when we are not around, it is alright to tell short jokes!

Well I digressed a bit. Let me explain the "Utter Theory". I believe the affinity for tall people comes from the first few years of life. It is a learned reaction. When you were a baby and hungry, or wet, or in need of anything, you cried for relief and who came to save the day? No, it was not Mighty Mouse. It was the Jolly Green Giant. Well maybe not the Green Giant (I hope not), but the Jolly Giant anyway (OK, not always jolly). If the one who always brings relief is big, it is only natural to associate a warm fuzzy feeling with size. We learn that big is good and it sticks with us for the rest of our life. It is so simple it amazes me that I didn't see it sooner, but then it is usually the simple things that are the most difficult to grasp. That the lack of size seems "bad" is not learned, but it is implied. If you are big, you are good, but if you are not big, then you are not good, because big and good go together. It doesn't mean that you are necessarily bad, just not good.

This is a rule that the news media knows only too well. You don't really have to say something is bad, just that everything else is good and it is implied that what is left is bad.

Have you noticed how language is biased against us? If you have "big ideas," you have good ideas and if you have "little ideas" they are not good. Likewise if you are a "big man" you are a good man and if you are called a "little man" it is usually meant as an insult. It is said that one falls short when you are not successful. You never fall tall, or long.

Just look at the definition of the word "short". It seems most of the definitions are somewhat negative and the examples used are also negative:

Don't take my word for it, look the word up yourself. While you are checking, look up height and tall, and notice how positive those definitions are.

Short men cannot be leading men. We are just not built for those roles. Mighty Mouse only saves the day in comic books. Accept this and be happy. Don't accept it and be miserable. I wonder if 200 pound men are ever miserable because they can't be jockeys. What we are really good at, or naturally built for, is being comedians. The big problem is all men want to be the hero. Being a comedian comes in as a distant second. It's just the nature of the beast.

When we say it is a disadvantage to be short, we are told that "you can be anything you put your mind to be". What bunk! I always wanted to play football and I did when I was in highschool (5' 4" and 118 pounds). They, both my team and the opponents, about killed me, but it was still fun. That is not to say I was good at it. If I had "put my mind to it" I would have just wasted my time. By the way, I don't recommend playing football when you are that small. I still suffer from neck problems (can't wear a motorcycle helmet for very long).

I don't understand why being short bothers women. I'm not qualified to even try to find out why being short bothers some women (I'm all man you know). Maybe some sharp women will explain it to me. If it is only because someone makes fun of you, don't bother: I'm quite aware of that. Perhaps it is that women want to be heroes also.

I think some of the problem, or problems, that we face is the world. That is, all of the people in the world, both male and female are slightly prejudice when it comes to size, and yes I do mean you too, even if you are smaller than average. You were once a baby and you learned that the giant was the one who saved the day, the same as someone who later grew tall. The problem is compounded because we don't realize we are prejudice and of course no one wants to admit that they are. So we are viewed as wrong if we say our size is a factor against us. And by those who don't have a clue as to what it is like to be short.

Having been dissatisfied for a long time because I was short, I have finally seen the light. You see, character is developed from adversity. No adversity, no character. We face adversity everyday and it is not even recognized as adversity, because it is only implied. Pity the person who grows tall and has no character and doesn't even realize it. I don't mean all tall people. There are some tall people with character, but they never have to face the same adversity as a short person simply because they are not short.

Speaking of realizing something, do you realize that we have a natural talent for making tall people seem even taller than they really are. All we have to do is stand close to them. They will not appreciate it though. They'll still "look down their nose at us".

I hate the word "shrimp". I use to say that I wouldn't even go to a restaurant that served shrimp, but then a friend of mine pointed out that any restaurant that served me, served shrimp. Ho, ho, ho, funny guy what? Well, you have to be able to laugh at yourself if you think you have a sense of humor.

Now, because you have listened to me while I presented my views I am going to tell you what I say to someone who tries to make fun of my size. Burn this into your mind because it really is true and you need to tell everyone who attempts to belittle you.

I am not short. I stopped growing when I got perfect. It's not my fault you didn't.

If you think about it, everything that is made, is made imperfect, just to appease those who couldn't stop growing when they got perfect. Doors are too tall, so that they will not knock their brains out (if they have any), ceilings too high, steering wheels too close, and pedals too far. You name it, it's all wrong. You see it is an imperfect world: a real test for perfect people like us, but being the perfect people we are, we put up with it. Don't get mad at the tall person, who didn't do a thing to make himself tall and yet is proud of his height. Just consider the source. He or she just isn't as perfect as we are. It's kind of funny when you think about it: isn't it?

Written by a Perfect Ed Utter to all my perfect friends.