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Too damn tall.

To be honest, being tall is a pretty sweet deal

People look up to you, literally. You can reach things at the back of the top shelf. You can hide your favorite cookies on the top of the refrigerator. You can see across a crowded room to the nearest bathroom, the open bar, or quick getaway.

You make more money (if you're male), attract more potential mates (if you're male), and, yes, the air is indeed a bit fresher up here: Some studies say that you're less likely to get COVID as a tall person (and studies that disagree appear to be biased against tall people).

However, it isn't all rainbows and unicorns

A tall man about to hit his head on a bare lightbulb in the ceiling

Nope, there's a downside, too. There are humiliations, inconveniences, and outright dangers that lurk at the far end of the height bell curve.

It starts with hearing "How's the weather up there?" and "Do you play basketball?" over and over and over. People call you "stretch", "albatross", and "giraffe".

It can be subtle, too. One time, a friend told me that she could always tell which were the photos that I had taken. "Wow," I thought, "all these years of focusing (no pun intended) on taking photos has finally come to fruition." Until she finished her thought: "... because they're always taken from such a high angle." Ah well.

A tall man about to hit his head on the overhead bin door on an airplane
↑ Air travel is designed for the small

A disappointed tall man with a shower that only reaches as high as his shoulders
↑ No, I didn't want to wash my hair

A tall man at eye level with a coat hanger sticking out of the wall
↑ Hang my coat, or my eye socket?

And then there's the fact that really tall people scare the crap out of me - even people my own height always seem to be an inch or two taller than I am. I'll easily spend 2-3 months without ever seeing anyone taller than me up close, so when I do, I get some crazy brainstem-level fight-or-flight reflex, causing me to subconsciously stand up straight, shake their hands with authority, and maintain eye contact until I can slink away to the shadows.

So, yes, pour one out in pity for us poor tall people. And read on, to see what this whole concept of "Too Damn Tall" really means...

Looking up

Graphic showing that tall people run into spider webs but regular people don’t

Spider webs are everywhere, especially those long single-strand ones that some spiders use to move from place to place. A standard-height person might run into one every year or so, and not think much of it. And thank you, by the way, for clearing the path so our shirts don't get covered in webs.

But if you're tall, you get the webs that nobody else runs across - by the dozens - right in the face. And then we do that spastic "I've got a spiderweb in my mouth and hair" dance, which looks even more unhinged thanks to our long limbs.

Want to take a walk around the block? Wonderful. You can look out for cracks in the sidewalk and dog poop, and I'll be doing the same while also looking up to avoid spider webs, trees, signs, and anything else the world can throw at my head.

HVAC, Schmevac

A disappointed man standing next to a top-of-door fan at a store

Some stores leave their doors open and have a very powerful fan at the top of the opening to create a ‘wall of air' that keeps the cold inside and the heat outside. This is all good and well, unless you are within an inch or two of the roaring, dusty tornado lurking above.

Mirror, mirror on the wall ... oh, never mind

Tall man standing in front of a restaurant bathroom mirror, but only able to see himself from the neck down

Bathroom mirrors are great for checking to see if you have anything in your teeth or to see if your hair has become unruly. Unless your head doesn't even appear in the mirror.

Bending over

Tall man leaning over to reach a low doorknob
↑ Doorknob disappointment

Tall man bent deeply at the waist to push a food cart
↑ Shopping cart = back trouble

Being tall involves a lot of bending waaay over: kitchen counters, bathroom sinks, dining tables, standing desks (!), ATMs, barbecue grills, vacuum cleaners, mops, brooms, snow shovels, lawnmowers, strollers, bicycles, mini golf clubs, escalator handrails, automotive engine maintenance, toilet flush handles, door handles, shopping carts, filing cabinets, parking meters, vending machines, card readers for doors, ... pretty much everything.

The Michael Jordan Effect

"Oh, but you must be good at basketball, right?" No. I'm terrible at it. My brain thinks my arms and legs end about 6 inches from where they actually do (you know, the height of a ‘normal' person), so I'm mostly just a study in flailing limbs and awkwardness.

Graphic showing me and Michael Jordan at the same height
↑ I'm the same height and weight as Michael Jordan in his basketball prime

Bar chart showing that I am the same height as Michael Jordan, but he makes $1.65B and I make very little in comparison
↑ Aaaand, unfortunately, that's pretty much where the comparison stops.

So, yeah.

Being tall isn't all it seems to be. We're bad on the environment (more fabric, bigger beds, more food, larger cars), we're always hitting our heads on things, we can't hear the conversations happening around our waists.

But, still, it's better than being too damn short.

Want more of this insanity? Check out my Too Damn Tall on Instagram

Elsewhere

2tall.com makes high-quality clothes that fit tall people
Tall Swag, Alicia Jay on height and life

 

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