MenagerieStories from down and up
Stories from down and up
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July 12, 2014
Tags:
July 12, 2014

It can be said that the girl from Wonderland got the best of both worlds; Alice was able to grow into sizes of too big and too small. Like folk singer Joni Mitchell, she was able to see the world from up and down, and with wonder and adventure every inch of the way. Unfortunately, for us actual humans, our stature cannot be changed so magically by cake or potion. No. Not even Cherifer or Growee could (though we wish they did).

As young adults, we have now grown to the height of which we shall live with for the rest of our lives. And that’s okay, fantastic—cool, even. But there are still a number of us who wish to have a little more time to stretch out their bones. We call them short people. No shade of insult, if you will, for height has always been ever-present in our murmurs and, naturally, decides technical realities. It lives in our tongues, as well as hearts. Now, we bring it to the pages of The LaSallian.

The vertical challenge by Erika Fernando

Bar stools and re-fitted clothes: struggles of the short

You don’t need Baby Looney Tunes to teach you that short people aren’t able to reach for things. It happens everywhere: department store racks, certain photo booths, high top counters – that feeling of never ending stretch is maddening, they say. The remedy for such struggles would be to ask for help, either from more capable people, such as sales people, (more capable) friends, the ever-reliable bar stool, and maybe even that clamp reaching device from Toys R Us.

Being an adult with the body of a child will often require adjustments. It’s that exasperating lack of fit in shopping mall items. If you refuse buy from the kid’s department, a trip to the seamstress is usually in order. At this point, you’ve done a lot of business together to buy her a second house. Kidding aside, shopping has become an expanded business.

Of all the struggles short people have, this counts as the classic. Remember those first few years of receiving communion and the priest inquires about your age? The same happens in common business establishments, such as theme parks, bars, and movie theaters where you have to ask the person in front of you to lower their head because otherwise, you’d lose the scene completely. If movie going is hard, try concerts, which are even harder. Never. Moshing. Again. Ever.

Both sides of the same coin, IDs are irrelevant

Being exceptionally tall is not always a good thing. According to Jezreel Nabong (IV, ADV), one of her biggest frustrations is having to bend down to talk to her shorter friends. Imagine holding hands. Sometimes, you resort to the arm-in-arm—cute, but not good enough.

Destined to become the umbrella holders during group dates, tall people will find it hard to be incognito. Like the petite, they also have trouble with choosing clothes. Some caution is needed when considering the purchase of shorts and skirts. They might not look as good as you imagined them to be. Not all tall people have the chameleonic ability of a fashion model or that of Chris Lilley.

These contrasting statures are, in so many ways, the same thing—the same problem, only backwards. Except, more often than not, taller people find themselves getting the sweeter end of the treat. The tall will tell you the sort of sorcery brought about by their vertical advantage. 5’10” Entrepreneurial Management student, Marion, shares that he’s been to bars unquestioned since he was 15. On the other hand, his older sister, even if eligible, gets stopped simply because she has the height of a child. Bones grow at different rates and IDs are suddenly of no use.

“Hi, my name is Tall/Short;” the social nametag

In reunions and family gatherings, matters of your physical growth seem to be the most fascinating thing with phrases like “ang laki-laki mo na,” being the usual greeting, as is globally with 10,934 translations. If life were a party, these might actually be written on our nametags.

Because “first impressions last,” that’s why.

Of course, we are more than outward appearances, but that’s how we usually get things going before we claim greater depths in others, whether we actually intend to or not. In any case, we make sense first of the physical layer, for example making the comment, “you look younger than you say you are,” to those that are short of stature. Jackie, an accountant who’s in her early fifties and stands below five feet, gets mistaken for thirty-five.

Munchkin jokes and appointed athletes

And though it may not be entirely appropriate, general niceties reveal a strong correlation between word use and subject, such as “cute” or “doll” to short people and “athlete” to the tall. Mostly for short people, this later evolves into jokes that the barkada or family often enjoys, with the silliest being “hobbit,” “we can’t see you,” or “you’re three inches tall!”

On the sunnier side of the street, the towering humans of this planet are revered. But models and athletes, the profession of those with skyscraper bodies, are supposed to be chosen, not appointed. Nevertheless, some kind of caution is expected of you. It sticks to you and poisonously transfers into the mouths of society. The reprimand “ka-laki-laki ‘mong tao” is supposed to be feeble. Yet, with its nearly cultural usage, the presumptions on your build fuel a kind of anger that’s some ways below the vehemence towards racial and gender discrimination. “I will help you reach for stuff, but I am not obliged to act by your expectations,” voices one of one of our writers. The case is not exactly socio-political, but is still validly infuriating.

Tall, short, or in between, our physical realities will indeed shape our everyday lives, as well as create roles on our behalf, granting us both opportunities and limitations. Certain labels will also be thrown our way but unless you let it, it will not matter. It shall be an appraisal beyond sight to know what should.