By Wayne Litke
Have you ever tried to do something nice and been accused of being a self-centered individual (a.k.a. Jerk with a capital J), although that offensive J word was never mentioned because of its sexist connotation? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me last week and it’s a good thing I have thick skin or I would have been severely hen-pecked. As it turned out, the only casualty was my pride and backbone which required chiropractic manipulation to correct.
It began at Maple Creek Composite School as the Renegade Players were preparing to rehearse “Note To Self” for an upcoming competitive drama performance. As my wife and I were looking for a good place to sit, a perfect location was spotted near the rear. It was ideal because I could sit naturally and not block the view of anyone behind me. While we scanned the seating, my spouse – as short as she is – somehow spotted empty seats in the second row from the front. I cannot explain how a short person can see that far and have wondered for a while if she has a telescopic neck that raises and lowers her marauding eyes. Reluctantly I agreed to sit at the front if the chairs were not reserved for someone else. That was mistake No. 1.
My wife, Angela, quickly secured an inside seat in front of one of our neighbours, Amber, who could easily see over her head. I was left to sit in front of the only person in Maple Creek who is shorter than my wife. Knowing the vertically-challenged individual behind me would never see the play, an overpowering feeling of guilt flooded over me. She groaned audibly as I sat down and I am sure my face turned a little red as I turned around and explained that I wanted to sit at the back, but that did not sit well with my wife.
Then Angela weighed in on the conversation and explained that I am totally self-centered because I never think of her needs and always sit in seats at the rear so the view of people behind me is not blocked. My ego wanted to respond with a humble reply, but I knew it was pointless. It was a lose-lose situation and at least one person was going to be unhappy no matter where I sat. Asking myself who would be the most miserable revealed a very simple answer. Moi, me, myself – I would most definitely be the most wretched person in the audience if I sat anywhere other than beside my wife.
Listening to the short person’s account of another public performance in which her view was totally blocked made me feel even worse. Then she shared her innermost feelings and described what she wanted to do to the tall individual with the big hat that blocked her view. I resolved myself to the fact that the rear of my jacket would likely be covered with lipstick or fingernail polish would be poured down my neck. The thought of an eyelash brush or fingernail file being shoved down the back of my pants definitely had me worried.
Therefore, when the performance began I slunk down in my chair as low as possible. My legs pushed forward which caused my knees to wrap around the woman in the chair in front of me. Unaware of what was occurring, the woman bounced around in time to the music during scene changes and I am afraid it appeared a little creepy to anyone who looked in our direction. As I sat there trying to block out the pain that was developing in my back, I wondered about the workings of the short people’s brains.
A good place to start is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary which has several definitions for the word short. Firstly, it means having little length (which is a touchy subject that male readers may not want to discuss). It also refers to something or someone who is not tall or high, but low.
It can mean expeditious or quick as in made short work of the problem. That definition made me think of the account of the tall guy with the big hat.
Short can be used to define time: seeming to pass quickly as in “made great progress in just a few short years.” I can only hope the midgets behind and beside me have made similar progress in overcoming their shortcomings in regard to anxiety issues and a deep-seated need for retribution.
That S word also refers to “not coming up to a measure or requirement” as in being insufficient. Ouch – I can tell Angela and Debbie are not going to be happy with this column.
However, the truth is the world loves short people, especially short women because they are cuddly and can be held on a person’s lap and patted like a house pet. I believe tall women can have similar experiences, it just looks a little unusual – kind of like a guy snuggling a giraffe. However, that statement is based strictly on speculation as I have no (zero) experience upon which to base such a statement.
For the people who love intimate details, it is not true my only redeeming feature is the fact I do not wear a big hat at meetings, public performances or in an auditorium. To the honest folks out there, thanks in advance for any accolades, but please don’t try to contact me since my phone number will be changed by the time this column goes to print.