Friday, May 23, 2008

The Definition of Tall

America, please note: I am now a tall person.

I have decided that I'm not going to accept my identity as a short person anymore. I'm not going to worry about whether I'm really 5'2", or just a little less than that, technically. I'm not going to accept the limited selections in the petite department, or put up with short jokes, or reach to get things off of high-up shelves.

Instead, I'm going to take a leaf from the gay marriage playbook, and start lobbying to change the definition of tall.

Of course, I've already changed it in my own mind. I see tall people and identify myself with them; I refuse to be marginalized because of something I was born to become; I'm tall, I'm proud, and there's nothing you can do about it.

But, of course, if I'm going to get society to accept me as tall, I'm going to have to insist on a few alterations.

First of all, I'm going to need the legal and dictionary definitions of the word "tall" to be changed to reflect my new-found tallness. From now on, anyone over four feet high is "tall." If the under-four-crowd wants to insist on their right to define their tallness, they'll be able to someday, but I'm blazing the trail and leading the way, so they'll just have to be patient.

Once anyone over four feet is considered "tall," I'll work to make sure that society has to accept me as a tall person. Anyone who insists I'm short will be identified as a bigot; anyone who refuses to alter their merchandise to suit me will be sued for discrimination, anyone who builds shelves too high for me to reach or doorways that clear my head with fifteen inches to spare will have to rebuild or face the ire of the angry, new-tall public.

Petite departments will be illegal. Regular clothes will have to be made to fit me, and if the "old-tall" people don't like that, tough! Their bigotry and discrimination is their problem, not mine. It will also be illegal to make a car too high for me to enter without a step stool and illegal to bar me from being an airline pilot or any other job based on my height, unless the old-tall people have to face similar restrictions. All of us tall people must be given the exact same rights, regardless of whether we're new-tall or old-tall.

Sure, some of the reactionaries in society will grumble about this. The people who have to bend to enter doorways or sew inches of extra fabric onto their pants or skirts may complain. The old-tall people who have to fold themselves like a circus clown to get into the new-tall cars, and the old-tall people who expect shelves to be higher than their necks, will probably gripe a lot. Know what? They'll just have to get over it. Society has discriminated against the new-tall people for centuries, and if the old-tall people now have to lose all those old-tall privileges to accommodate new-talls like me, that's just the way it's gonna be.

Once we change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, then all the other definitions out there are up for grabs. And after I've succeeded in getting society to redefine "tall," I think the next word I'll tackle is "thin." And then maybe "rich," and then "young." By this time next year I could be a young, tall, thin, rich person--just by changing the meanings of all those words!

Ain't America grand?


Histor said...

One bad side effect of your idea, ma'am: high school kids will make "tall" their new favorite slur, the way "gay" is right now.

Otherwise, go for it! I'm one of those old-tall people and my heart just bleeds about how we (well, other old-tall people) called your sort midgets and petites and horrible slurs like that.


Ouiz said...

This is brilliant, and as another "new-tall" person (also 5'2"), I'm all for it!


Lisa said...

Great analogy, Red. Hurry up with the redefining of "short" (which I am, too),and get working on "thin" which would be just fine. The lack of real sense in our society is downright scary, isn't it?

MommaLlama said...

I couldn't agree more... I stand a towering 5 foot and 3/4 inches, and have always felt that my inner height was not the same as my outer height and therefore felt at odds with the definition of tall. I will pick of your 'tall' flag (bumper sticker, ribbon magnet, shirt, jacket, etc.), and proudly join you. I, too, am interested in the rewording of 'thin'.

I'm feeling a MARCH coming on :-).

Daddio said...

Awesome. Personally, I feel discriminated against when they tell me I can't be a fighter pilot. I need the following re-definitions:

-physical fitness
-20/20 vision
-aviation talent

Who the heck are you to say I'm
"not qualified"? I was born this way. I just want to live my dreams in peace like everyone else.

~~~mary said...

Red -
I've always seen you as head and shoulders above the rest! Great post. Peace. ~~~mary

Anonymous said...

Orwellian, to say the least! Hopefully that iron curtain has rusted too badly to resurrect.