The Kansas City Star
Feb. 27, 2013
I come from a long line of danglers.
Both my grandmothers dangled. My great-grandmother who only ate cottage cheese and carrot sticks was a dangler. And having two girls of my own, the probability of one of them dangling is dang good.
What is a dangler, you ask? If you were sitting in the bathroom stall next to mine, it would be quite obvious what problem I struggle with (other than dangling prepositions).
I am short. My feet can’t reach the floor in any adult-sized chair. Parent/teacher conferences at the grade school? No problem! But I’m vertically challenged.
Unfortunately, this is not a new issue for me. When the kids on the playground would taunt me, calling out “Shorty Pants,” I would smartly retort, “Good one, Mr. Tall-ey Pants!” Apparently, I am better on paper with a few edits.
Then I grew older and stronger.
During my preteens, Randy Newman wrote the supposedly satirical song “Short People,” where he waxed poetic that “short people got no reason to live.” Such a charmer. I bet Mr. Newman never had his early adolescence bombarded by bullies singing lame lyrics at him every chance they had. As you can see, I’m over it! Newman!
But time does heal wounds and I’ve had plenty of it to develop a thick skin when it comes to people giving me griefabout my height. Being short does have some perks. I always had a prom date who was taller than me. You have to feel sorry for those sleek, towering girls who had to slow dance with boys whose heads struggled to rest on their date’s plunging sweetheart neckline — never a dangler’s issue.
And as an adult, I have become more of an extrovert due to my height disability in the supermarket. I easily befriend persons with hereditarily stretched gene pools. Whenever I cannot reach a top shelf item, I gather up my courage to ask complete strangers to reach for the bran flakes. This is a double-fold embarrassment: one, they realize you can’t survive without their help and two, you must really need some bran or you wouldn’t have asked a stranger to grab it.
Although I will confess, I have been known to scale the shelves when no one is coming around to assist. But shh, don’t tell anyone.
Even though I have never purchased pants that didn’t need to be hemmed a good 6 inches, spring always comes around once a year, and I can count on my favorites — the Capri pant. Grabbing my 30 percent Kohl’s coupon and wildly charging on, I joyously announce from the dressing room, “Bingo! No hemming for this gal until the fall!”
Of course for every Capri purchase, you have to grab a pair of dangling earrings to match.
The one thing that has made me appreciate my 60 inches of vertical stretch more than anything are my kids.
I remember the first time my oldest child looked up at me and asked, “Mama, will I be as tall as you someday?” It took everything in my power to not say, “Let’s pray for a miracle you won’t.”
But to her I am a giant, a tower of strength and security. I love motherhood. My children make this sapling feel like a sequoia.
So I’m signing off. I’ve been dangling at the computer too long and I no longer have feeling in my legs.
What do you have in running through your genetic pool that you are most proud of or like to make fun of at family functions? Please share in the silliness!! Stacey