So You Are a Bit Tall

Image by ZeroHour99

"I wish I were a big deal."

A truly stupid wish to make when you live in New York City.

With some effort and several apologies, I managed to squeeze into a seat on the subway. It was an ordeal, though I’m more embarrassed by the book everyone can see me reading: So You Are a Bit Tall

I'd gone to bed at five foot four—my usual height—and I woke up with my head pressed against the headboard and my toes peeking over the bottom edge of the bed. I continued growing throughout the morning, and by lunchtime I was in search of somewhere, anywhere to take me out of my increasingly constricting studio apartment. This led me to the Brooklyn Public Library, where I waded through the shelves until a thin, red hardbound volume caught my eye.

Presented as a series of encouraging tips, the book employed the subtly superficial tone typically reserved for teens and young adults. Scattered throughout were pictures and factoids of 'tall' celebrities and public figures, as well as candid shots of tall women looking unnaturally happy in casual settings. One photo depicted woman laughing while eating a salad with friends standing shoulder high to her. For the life of me, I can't imagine what could be so funny about eating a salad with a bunch of short people.

I checked out the book and read it for the duration of my late-afternoon ride home. The chapters were peppered with ‘encouragement and inspiration for young, altitudinally blessed ladies.’

Look to a tall role model or relative for inspiration.

My tallest brother would not even reach my inseam.

People assume you are mature and responsible.

I tripped over two different children on my way here.

Dress to your height, and remember: tall is beautiful.

I shot a friendly smile at a salt-and-pepper business type sitting across from me, who blushed and hid behind his newspaper. It would later occur to me that, oriented in the seat as I was, I'd been flashing my underwear to all the passengers across from me.

...mature and responsible.

Arriving at my stop, I squeezed my giant butt through the subway doors and crawled up steps to street level where I could finally stand up straight. It felt wonderful to stretch my legs, which were longer than most doorways were high. Arriving back at my building, I stood tall enough to see through a second-floor window into my apartment. I made a mental note to re-paint my soulless taupe walls and replace one of the three bulbs that had burned out in my lamp.

Having nearly forgotten about my book, I flipped to the last page, struggling to read the small print.

Accept it—it’s who you are.

It occurs to me that while I’m big compared to what I was, I'm still small compared to what I will be. I probably should be more concerned about my growth, but that's a problem for future me.

...when I'm a bigger deal.

Originally published September 25, 2018