Heightened Senses

Last week, somebody asked me an interesting question. They said, “Do you even remember what it’s like to be short?”

My hopelessly witty and charming reply was something like “er…no.” I mean, I’m 6-foot-9. I’ve been tall for quite some time.

Truth be told, I do remember those days. I remember several things from when I was a kid, like Christmases, birthday parties, moments from my elementary school, and the day I was told about a certain divorce. And there’s plenty of other stuff too.

I also remember the day I was taller than my mom. Keep in mind, my mom is five feet tall. Sure, she’ll tell you that it’s actually 5 feet, 1/4 inch, but that doesn’t really stop her from falling into the short category. I’d been hovering around eye level for a while, but we were shopping one day in eighth grade when I noticed that I’d finally made the leap.

Passing my dad? That was a much bigger deal.

When I was little, doctors projected that I’d be a little over six feet tall, maybe 6-1 or 6-2. That made sense, considering the wide disparity between my mom and my dad (6-5).

They were wrong.

Sometimes I think I went through puberty a little bit late — or that it was stretched out longer than most folks. I started high school at 5-foot-4 or so. When I met Dave freshman year, he was taller than I was. But while he added an inch or two over the four years we were at Brophy, I added 12. And then I sprung up another three inches by my sophomore year of college, which just seemed unfair to everyone else at the time.

I have very few photos of me and my dad from any time in my life, but one always stands out: high school graduation. We’re standing on an incline while I’m in my cap and gown, so it’s hard to tell exactly who is taller, but the fact that I was even close was surprising to me. I’d spent most of my life looking up to my dad in a literal sense (not quite as much a figurative one), so this was a revelation.

So when I was asked the question of if I remembered being short, the true answer was “no…unless I think about it.” It’s been seven years since I stopped growing, meaning that I’ve gotten used to the idea of being this big. I’m finally getting to buy new shoes because the old ones are worn down, not because my feet have burst through them. I can comfortably buy golf clubs without worrying that I’m going to swing over the top of the ball six months out.

Sure, being tall has its less glamorous side. Back pain — oh, the back pain. Strangers constantly asking me to get things off of the top shelf in grocery store. Ceiling fans. Door frames. People I meet constantly asking “do you play basketball?”

But at this point in my life, I’ve pretty much accepted who I am. And being tall is a pretty big part of that identity.

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