Chippewa Elementary School
It was 1980 something on Long Island, New York. I went to Chippewa elementary school. Like any elementary school most kids at that age were average in height and I was no different. There were a few taller than average and a few shorter than average exceptions but for the most part we were all about the same height.
Oregon Middle School
In middle school (still 1980 something) it was basically the same but there were more than a few exceptions. Seriously, the entire (well almost) school was experiencing puberty so there was a lot of growing going on and not just in height. Every school had clicks including, but not limited to, the Burnouts, the Jocs, the Preps, the Goths and the Skinheads. (I know its probably politically incorrect to classify people like this but hey, it was the 80’s.) Everyone in my click was about the same height.
Sachem High School
In high school things were clearly different. First, it was obvious that all those raging hormones found their place. Second, we had girlfriends and boyfriends! All of my girlfriends were shorter than I was.
Ahhh, home sweet home. This was the house I grew up in. Well, not this house exactly-actually, it looked nothing like this. It’s been remodeled a dozen times since we moved.
My mom stood at 5 feet 1 inch tall-my dad was 5 feet 7 inches-my sister was 5 feet and 0 inches tall. At 5 feet 8 inches I was the tallest person in our house! And all of my aunts and uncles were average height except for one. My uncle Eddie on my dad’s side was 6 feet tall. But the only time I spent with him was when I was 7 or 8 years old and every adult is a giant at that age. I had a few cousins that were tall but, everyone that I spent most of my time with was short. I was taller than them all. Naturally I felt like I was 6 feet tall.
It was really more like one decade. And it was from 1999 (Party!) to 2009 that I was introduced to reality. And it wasn’t one incident either it was a compilation of happenings. Things like walking towards another man in anger, who from a distance appeared to be shorter than me (because I was bigger than everyone close to me!) but upon closer inspection I was mistaken. Or, after hugging my 6 feet tall father in-law for the first time and noticing that my head falls under his chin as he says, “love you”. It was this compilation of happenings and many more that brought me to the realization that I had a disorder that had not yet been named-I called it The Opposite of Short Man Syndrome. It comes from having nothing but people that are shorter than you in your life and not having spent enough up-close time with the taller ones. This is not a real syndrome (not yet anyway). I’m sure you all know this. I liken myself to the cow was abandoned by its herd and raised to believe it was a dog. You can find that story here.
My 14 year old son is 1 inch taller than me (really?) and he hasn’t learned what personal space is yet so I get plenty of up-close time with him.
Needless to say the more I age the more I become aware of who I am and more importantly what I wasn’t-6 feet tall.
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