My entire life has consisted of being the short one, the one who’s easy to shove around, the one who can wear kid’s clothing, the one who can squirm through any thick crowd and can get away with elbowing annoying girls, the one people want to stand beside tall people so we can all have a good laugh, the one they call Smidge. Now, the first time Jennie called me ‘Smidge’, I was driving in London, Ontario and I think it just slipped out. I had known her for maybe two months. Anyway, the following was the scene.
Michelle is driving, Jennie is the passenger. Michelle is waiting in the left turning lane and dedicates the next song on her mixed CD to Jennie B. which happens to be “Call on Me” by Eric Prydz. Jennie is totally into it but is too ‘indy’ to admit it right away. So her gut reaction is to blurt out, “You’re such a smidge!” Michelle responds, “A what?! A smidge?!” Obviously, super offended. Jennie in her bubbly, I just put my foot in my mouth, nervous, quick chatter replies: “Yeah, of course. You’re just a smidgen. You know, like a smidge of a person.” “Oh, I thought you meant midget.” “Nooooooo, of course not, silly!” Michelle is satisfied but still unsure. Jennie has a way of making people feel at ease and has had a lot of experience getting herself out of sticky situations when she’s said the wrong thing. If Michelle wasn’t driving and could see Jennie’s face, she would have seen the beet redness.
So, there it stuck. But, it’s not the only short reference I’ve ever received. I’ve even given myself short monikers (my ICQ username was Hottie McShortie). I’m obviously shorter than the rest of y’all. I’m not sure why people try to convince me that I’m ‘not that short’, as though it’s a terrible thing. Yes, I am that short. My height doesn’t offend me nor does it keep me up at night. It’s like these people are trying to spare my feelings because perhaps too short is terrible. Well, I was actually told once that I am ‘too short’ by some drunken random on the street to which I responded, “Well, you’re too ugly.” YES! Michelle-1, Drunken Asshole-0.
You must all be thinking to yourself ‘when did this all start?’ and ‘how did this all happen?’ Well, I’m pretty sure it started at birth – something to do with genes and other biological factors. My dad is 5’8” and my mom was 5’2”. But, I also have another theory – barf. I barfed a lot as a kid. Barfed when I was playing, barfed when I got nervous, barfed in my sleep. Barfing was as natural as burping for me. So, there was a whole lot’a barfing going on. My theory is that I didn’t get enough nutrients as a kid to grow to the size of ‘normal’.
I’ve been the super model of short people for years. Well, since I gave myself that title. I have a unique look (I’m pretty pissed the gap-teethed are getting all the work these days) and I’m on the tall side for short. To get midget status here in Canada, you can’t be taller than 4’10” so technically, I’m just a really short ‘tall’ person because I’m 4’11” or, so I thought. Something was recently revealed to me. My brother measured me in my teens at 4’10¾” (I stopped growing at around 12) and I’ve been rounding it up since (we all round up! Not just short people…don’t judge). I’ve been getting measured at the doctor’s office for years and only this past May did the measure lady actually say my height out loud:
“Yep, 4’10”. “Excuse me?” “You’re 4’10” “I shrunk by ¾ of an inch?!” “Did you want me to measure you again?” “Uhhhh….no but that makes me a ‘little person’” “Haha.” “No, like truly a ‘little person’!” “Haha.” Bloody eastern European assistant! Don’t you get it??? No she didn’t get it – why would she know the rules for being a little person or understand the expression itself.
When she told me to take my clothes off in prep for the doctor she said: “When you’re short, you look younger.” – again, one of those ‘trying to make me feel better about my height’ moments. But, on the contrary, my dear, youthful looks is not a blessing for all us littles. Along with my midget genes, I was also given ‘young looking’ genes – thanks mom!
I ain’t gonna wear high heels nor am I going to wear tall hats. I am proud to be a smidget and a little person or whatever ‘we’ want to be referred to as, now – this little person status is so new to me, I haven’t been keeping up with my ‘people’ news. I will stand tall and proud. Rise above it all. Seek to reach new heights yet never look down on people. Always leave on a high note. And, I promise to always, and I mean always let you know when your fly is down or when you have a booger. For your sake but mostly for mine because then I won’t be able to stop staring at it or seeing it in my peripheral and won’t be able to pay attention to anything you’re saying.