OPINION: You Must Be This Tall To Ride
By Adam Clery on August 28, 2012 in NARC.
I read an article the other day, in a certain sneering I’m-not-racist-but newspaper that shall remain nameless, about height which said the average man in the UK now stands at 5’9” tall. Give or take the footwear I’m in, and whether or not I’m trying to put something back on a reasonably high shelf, I come in about 1 inch shy of that total. So I’m officially short.
Granted, this wasn’t a total shock. Ever since my glittering basketball career was curtailed by the favouritism shown to other lads at my school, namely those who’d bang their head getting on the bus, I’ve been quietly aware that I wouldn’t be pulling up any trees. Or looking like one.
I get lots of consoling cliches from friends and family members about it, meaningless stock phrases that used to be the preserve of uninspired advertising banners like “good things come in small packages”. No they fucking don’t mate, the last thing I got in a small package was a gas bill.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I had a comeback, but there’s not even anything witty you can say in retort to tall people. Steady on there mate, mind you don’t hit you head… ON A ZEPPELIN. You can’t borrow these jeans because they’ve got a regular leg… WAS YOUR DAD A LADDER?. Alright man, what’s the weather like up there… ON THE MOON?
Even if any of these were clever, I’d swiftly be dismissed with one hearty swing of their enormous paws.
There’s meant to be something about your lack of height relating to your lack of stable mental health as well, but Thom Yorke, Roman Polanski and Kim Jong-Il are all under 5”5′, and they seem like pretty level headed guys. People under 6 foot statistically live longer as well, presumably because at ground level, my only natural predator is an irate urban fox. Tall people spend all day fighting off birds of prey and dodging light aircraft, I presume.
I actually like being this height though. I can get in a bath without having my knees obscuring my otherwise brilliant view of the taps, I never wake up with a chill having had an errant foot escape the warmth and safety of the covers, and a dog has never taken a rizzle up my jeans having mistook me for a very trendy lamppost.
Besides, this height’s neutral, it means I’ve got to go out of my way to avoid conflict. Any bigger and I’d spend all day spoiling for a scrap or stranding people’s pets on garage roofs. I’d be totally incapable of restraining myself and the notion of settling down for five minutes would be met with both contempt and a twisted face. What I mean is, if I’d grown up, I’d probably never have grown up.
Illustration by Kathryn Robertson
- Interview: Richard Herring