Being one of the vertically challenged has been a pretty tall order for most of my life, but as I get older the challenge seems to be getting bigger. Maybe as I get older I sag more and being short it gives the appearance of being even shorter.

Whatever the case, I do feel shorter and that just confirms my belief that most things I deal with have been designed for a person 5 feet, seven inches tall. I would just love to be 5 feet, 7 inches tall then I would never have to lose a pound!

The reality is I’m not fat, I’m just too short for my weight. I don’t think people of height realize the hardships those of us closer to the ground live with. Not only do we have to watch what we eat because we don’t have the body length to stretch out the fat; we also have to watch what we wear.

For example, I can’t wear skirts, dresses or coats that are very long because they make me look like a Weeble, those little toy people with no feet. I can’t wear anything too short because then too much of my stubby legs will show.

Even cars can be a problem for the vertically challenged. I think most vehicles were designed for the more elongated body. In order to have the seat close enough for me to reach the pedals I have to drive around with the steering wheel crushing my solar plexus.

Seat belts are definitely a great safety feature and I wouldn’t want to drive a car without them, but they seem to fit across my throat better than across my chest. God forbid I ever have an accident. I’ll be spared the fate of going through the windshield, but my neck will snap like a twig.

Supermarket shelves are also a challenge for people like me. I have to plan my grocery list based on what is reachable. I’m sure there is a whole world of great top shelf items that I have never tried because I just plain can’t reach them. I have to buy the giant size boxes of cereal even though I don’t need them because the regular size boxes are always on the top of the shelf.

Housework is a major chore for the short-legged person too. Tall people don’t have a clue what it’s like to do half of the cleaning standing on a chair or stool. The plus side is that I can’t see the top of the refrigerator so it doesn’t bother me how much dust may have accumulated on it.

I used to marvel at my husband’s ability to change a light bulb in a ceiling fixture without even having to stretch. For me to change the same light bulb requires standing on a chair on top of two dictionary sized books.

As a couple, Henry’s height and my shortness has led to a few problems. We can never see eye to eye on things even when we agree. And, when we did have a disagreement on something he would often say, ‘I’m not going to stoop to your level’ and then he’d laugh.

There are some advantages, however, to being short. Because we’re closer to the ground if we should trip and fall we don’t get hurt as badly as tall people. We’re great at picking vegetables and berries too. We don’t have to bend as low as other people so our backs last longer.

We don’t get depressed because for us things are always looking up. With a lower center of gravity we float better. And, we are more apt to see eye to eye with our children than the taller parents.

I think it’s high time short people started getting a little more respect. Everything should be petite-accessible. It’s definitely a little shortsighted for tall people to look down at short people all the time, because the way I see it one of us munchkins just may rule the world some day and all the tall people will then get the short end of the stick.

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