BY MICHAEL KOZIOL
I am five foot five. When I dust off my nice boots with the cowboy heels, I manage five foot seven. It’s nowhere near towering but at least it’s approaching the neighbourhood of “average”. Still, at 22, and with the sun now well and truly set on the possibility of a surprise growth spurt, I must face the crippling reality: I am a short man.
I am also slight of build with almost no natural capacity, it seems, of obtaining muscles. I’ve been described as a “tempest of power” – a euphemism, I suppose, for someone with a big personality but a tiny body. If you squint I could disappear from view entirely, which is great should I ever follow through on my childhood intent of becoming a private investigator stalking adulterers from my car. But it’s a hindrance for almost anything else.
The sort of discrimination I face is almost negligible relative to that of the truly and historically oppressed. But it is insidious and ongoing, and whether mostly psychosomatic or not, makes me feel confined in what I can achieve.
Television as a career seems generally off-limits, including associated professions that involve going on TV a lot. My latent desire to go into electoral politics might have to suffice with a lifetime in factional backrooms. Newspapers remain a great hideaway for the vertically-challenged, should they survive the decade, and I suppose radio, which has sheltered me from harm thus far, remains a viable option.
But size does matter in all those situations – and there are many in life – where we evaluate someone at face value. Job interviews, my current nemesis, are a case in point. How could any employer trust the child-like figure appearing before them? Could this diminutive person publicly represent a company or a brand? Big guys command attention, small guys disappear.
So it is gently amusing to read people like Kahla Preston write about the inconveniences of being tall, which include discomfort on planes and occasionally being asked about basketball.
Apparently it can also be difficult to hear friends in a crowded bar, necessitating some sort of ungainly stooping action, or, I suppose, asking them to project to the nosebleed section.