Here’s My “Short” Life Story, by Andrew Joppa


“Civility and political correctness, contrary to the thinking of many, are not the same. Civility constrains behavior and words based on genuine caring about others, while political correctness is only a facade of caring while hoping to cultivate public approval.”

― Ben Carson


In an America that is increasingly dominated by the hair-trigger sensitivities of “Snowflakes,” it seems appropriate that I make my personal contribution to this ever-expanding category. I’ve been advised to do so by my therapist and by my wife, but I repeat myself. Perhaps, if what I offer is provocative enough, it might lead to books, movies, movements, and extended works of poetry, all dedicated to the ignominy of being vertically disadvantaged.


If not achieving these types of recognitions, I would at least gain membership in the “I am a victim” club. With that status I would be able to attend Leftist rallies where all others that have suffered in a comparable manner could meet and we could weep, wail, wallow, whimper and wrath together. So, with all that in mind, here is my painful story of my “debility,”…that is, I am short (though most people think I write “taller.”).

It all started in Yonkers, New York, November, 1954… a date that will live in infamy:

Oh… how I remember…like it was yesterday… (Note: I remember everything like it was yesterday except things that happened yesterday)


When I was twelve, I won the Yonkers Little League home run crown.  As I went up to receive my trophy, I could hear some parents whispering…” but, he’s so short.”  Oh… how I suffered.


Several years later, when I tried out for my High School basketball team, I was five for 5 for 5 from the floor in a scrimmage. I still didn’t make the team.  You know why. Oh… how I suffered.


When I wanted to date Jane Doe (name withheld…wait…her name was really Jane Doe) the five’9” HS queen of the entire world, she said, “I really like you, but we’d look funny together.” (I’ve seen her recently and she now looks funny all on her own.) Oh… how I suffered.


When I found out that men made, on average, a thousand dollars more for every inch over 5’10.” Oh… how I suffered.


Thank goodness I sprouted up to my present height of 5’7” …. leaving all the bitterness behind.


Well…almost all…I will never forget, nor forgive, all those that discriminated against me for being vertically disadvantaged.  Their insensitivity left scars from which I’ll never escape.


As a result, I have spent many of my spare evening hours roaming through city parks, tearing down the statues of tall people…at least those I could reach…those who received rewards that I so richly deserved.


I wrote to the NFL and The NBA complaining about their lack of short men.  To prove they discriminate…the average height in the NFL is 6’3” and in the NBA it is 6’6”. Muggsy Bogues was their token short man.  I demanded the NBA lower the basket from 10 ft. to a more accessible 5 ft, so I too could slam dunk…but they rejected my plea for reasonable accommodation. There it is, a smoking gun of bigotry. What more proof do you need?


In addition, I petitioned the government to put up statues honoring others who were diminished because…well…they were diminished.  Winston Churchill 5’7″, Napoleon Bonaparte 5’6″, Mahatma Gandhi 5’4”, Andrew Carnegie 5’2,” Paul Simon 5’3”, Yuri Gagarin 5’2″, Charlie Chaplin 5’5″  , Bono 5’7″    , Ulysses S. Grant 5’8″, Pablo Picasso 5’4″…immediately came to mind. One can only imagine what these men might have been able to accomplish were it not for their being discriminated against because of their height.  They might have actually been something special…obviously, their limited vertical reach held them back.


My wife, who is also vertically disadvantaged, had her own horror stories to relate.  With tears rolling down her cheeks she told me how her taller friends would ask her, “How come you’re so short?”  To this day she wails mournfully, “How come?????…How come???…What did they mean…how come????”  The bigotry didn’t stop there, as many called her “Munchkin” right to her face, or at least to the top of her head, and the boys in their shop class made her a pair of stilts. She used them right through High School including her senior prom. Even now, as she becomes continuously shorter, she refuses to watch the Wizard of Oz or clowns at the circus using height extenders.


Nah…I’m just kidding.  I couldn’t have cared less about any of that.  The tears of my wife above were tears of laughter.


Nah…I’m just kidding.  I couldn’t have cared less about any of that.  The tears of my wife above were tears of laughter. (I repeated it, so you didn’t miss that I was kidding)


However, since you live in “modern” cultural America many of you might have started to become misty eyed over our feigned plight. I could probably start a #GOFUNDMESHORT page and rake in big dollars. I am thinking of starting a group named, Short Lives Matter. How could gullible Americans turn me down?


We are asked to believe that we are permanently damaged if we are rejected for any reason at all; that we will bear the scars of these “wounds” for the rest of our life and there will be triggering events that might result in some variation of Post Insensitivity Trauma. For example: Someone saying “shortbread” might send me into a frenzy of despair. Even worse was being on the “short list” for promotion…it was presumed that I wouldn’t see right through their coded, “tall person” language and have to spend hours in the men’s, or some gender neutral, bathroom.


I can only wonder how my Jewish friends made it through successfully with so much anti-Semitism.  They almost seem to thrive because of it, not despite it. It is impossible to understand how Asians, who receive more than their share of insensitivity, can push it all aside and sit on top of the American economic pie…with every Jewish kid I ever knew just below them.  Many of us that grew up poor (and that overstates my childhood economic circumstance) with no societal influence or resources to draw from…managed to be OK; certainly not wealthy…but OK, and OK is OK.


What about all the things I apparently missed out on because I’m short and grew up poor? Well… I don’t have a boat…I don’t want a boat. Don’t give me a boat. Sitting on a floating object in a broiling sun doesn’t do it for me.  My Citizen watch keeps time as perfectly as any Rolex…maybe better, and I don’t have to worry about it being stolen.  I have little interest in “swirling” at dusk in evening wear at some resort in Bali. I don’t like going out to eat…it bores me to tears.  My wife is a better cook than any chef and likes doing it.  I can’t tell a bottle of Night Train from a bottle of the best French wine.  I don’t know or care what a truffle is. OK…I do care…what’s a truffle?   I don’t begrudge anyone who has or likes those things.  I don’t envy them, nor would I trade my life for theirs.  My life is not about “them…it is about “me.” My life is not a competition with others…it is what it is…and it “ain’t” bad.


If, on the other hand, I was an ignorant lout (accept for the moment I’m not)…if I used profanity to say hello…If I was untrustworthy…if I was a thief…if I was violent…if I rioted and burned and broke things…if I dressed in fifty shades of polka dot with matching tattoos…if I had so many body piercings I couldn’t get through a metal detector… If I never held a job longer than it took me to take a break…If I was a soaring mountain of ignorance…then all bets are off.


The negative life results of these phenomenon aren’t due to trauma and insensitivity.  These are behavioral issues where different choices can be made; not by others…but by us.  It is always easier, however, to blame “them,” whoever the “them” are, rather than blaming ourselves. When was the last time you heard it suggested that anyone should change their own behavior to avoid the negative outcomes they so vehemently complain about?


Our daft American culture suggests that all of us have been either lucky or unlucky …discriminated against or not…advantaged or disadvantaged, privileged or not privileged; that no one has created their own life…either for the better or for the worse.  What absolute nonsense. What balderdash (I love that word).


It becomes deadly serious, however, when government believes it must intercede to undo the results of the bad voluntary choices made by individuals.  Government’s job…perhaps its primary job… is to undo illegality; it is not one of artificially contriving life outcomes because someone had their feelings hurt and can’t get over it.  People who are damaged by their sensitivities being offended had little of value going on before that…they just needed an excuse to explain their life shortcomings (oops…I’m now going into a self-imposed frenzy).


Wallow too much in sensitivity and you can’t deal with life, or the truth.

Neal Boortz

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