I was afraid of Midget Mark. Everyone at my favorite dive bar in Hong Kong, the Globe, called him Accountant Mark when he was within earshot, because he was the bar’s accountant, but when he wasn’t around, they called him Midget Mark because he was a little person. I was afraid of Midget Mark because, at 22 years old, I was just reaching my full adult height of 6 feet 8 inches, and I assumed he would resent me for my size.
So when he hopped up onto the barstool next to mine, looked me over, and said, “It must be hard to be that tall,” I thought it was a trap.
“How do you mean?” I asked him hesitantly.
“Can’t buy shoes. Can’t buy pants. Airplanes must be a nightmare.”
“Yeah,” I agreed warily. “How do you know that?”
“I just take all my problems and reverse them,” he explained. “The world is made for average-sized people.”
Our conversation happened 20 years ago and with the benefit of hindsight I can see why Mark would have been kind to me. In his eyes I was young, gawky, and uncomfortable in my own body. He was confident. He told stories about his time as a street performer, earning money as a clown, “You know, juggling, short jokes,” as he put it. He was married and made a good living as an accountant.
I was constantly embarrassed of my elbows, my knees, and my big feet sticking out everywhere. I hit my head a lot on low door frames. I was different and the local Cantonese people in Hong Kong weren’t shy about reminding me. They jumped to try to touch the top of my head as I walked by, or sneaked up behind me with their hands raised high to amuse their friends. Sometimes, in the vegetable market near my house, the old women would just point at me and laugh.
I don’t think I was very happy in those days. I remember writing a short story to amuse my friends in which I threw myself out a window but my giant feet got caught on a flagpole, stopping my fall before I hit the pavement. My body and my identity hadn’t yet fused. But in my defense, my height wasn’t something that I had in common with any close relatives or friends. And it was very possible that I was actually still growing.
The average height for …read more
Source:: Lifestyle – The Week