Are you feeling discriminated against?  No problem. Start a protest group. It’s the 2017 thing to do. Find somebody else in the same leaky boat, come up with an identifying adjective, add a hyphen with the word “American” after it — and you’re an instant lobby.

So let’s hear it for Shorto-Americans, an under-sung, under-appreciated, under-publicized and under about everything else group you can think of.  We’re tired of going through life always looking up.  Medical fact:  Short people have more neck problems than anybody in history, except for Marie Antoinette and Anne Boleyn. The time has come for us to unite, raise our voices high (the only way we can do it, small vocal cords, you know) and demand equal rights.

Being Short

I realized I was a Shorto-American at the age of 16.  I looked at myself in a full-length mirror and asked, “Is that all there is?”  While my friends were shopping in the junior department, I was caught in a pre-teen time warp.  My biggest problem was breaking the news to my parents.

One night while they were having dinner, I announced that I had something important to tell them.  “You failed geometry?” my father asked.

“This will come as a shock,” I said, “but the truth is, I’m short.”

“Big deal,” my father said.  “Everybody on both sides of the family is short — except for Uncle Seymour, the 5-foot-9 clumsy lummox. Short is good.”

short people

But I felt cheated.  I wanted answers.  What about all those promises our government made us?  “All men (and women) are created equal.”  Not!  Or “You can grow up to be anything you want.”  Sure, I wanted to be Audrey Hepburn but I was facing a Minnie Mouse future.  As the years passed, I learned how cruel people can be.  “Let Harriet sit between us in the front seat.  She’s got short legs” …  “If you’re going to buy stripes, make sure they go up and down instead of sideways” … “My son could eat apples off your head already and he’s only 11.”

I suffered quietly for years.  Then, last week, I began to think about all those other self-interest groups and decided to organize Shorto-Americans.  First thing we’ll do is march on Washington to demand our civil rights.  It’ll have to be a short march, of course.  How far can you get in spike heels, platforms and elevator shoes?

We’ll carry signs like “Down with tall men and women stores” … “Get rid of top shelves in supermarkets” … “Lower windshields now!”

Meanwhile, I want everybody who believes in the cause of Shorto-Americans to wear some kind of ribbon.  Color doesn’t matter.  Just take anything you have lying around — and cut it in half.

Copyright 2016 Harriet Posnak Lesser


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2 Comments on Selling Short by Harriet Posnak Lesser

  1. Elinor Ruskin
    December 17, 2016 at 10:57 am (1 year ago)

    Harriet, I have found out that I am not part of the “Shorto Americans” since I’ve lost almost three inches in the past 25 years. (I thing that’s when it started.) However, many more formerly medium sized women are in the same boat. I was with a large group of women at a museum and were advised that the short women should be up front. Much to my surprise, my 5ft. 2 in qualified as one of the taller women and was told to go to the rear. So, as we age, we all should belong to your new group of “Shorto Americans” Definitely we need lower shelves everywhere.

  2. Melody Lesser
    December 22, 2016 at 11:15 am (1 year ago)

    That’s a great story, Elinor. I reached my adult height at the age of, like, six. In school, we were seated in order of height so my desk was always in the back of the classroom. Because of this, I grew up thinking of myself as incredibly tall. It wasn’t until I started taking the subway that I realized the truth of my short stature. But you know what they say about good things and small packages! xo

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