Thursday, April 5, 2012

Walking Tall - My Life As A Giant 4/5/12

This has been the worst week of my life.

On Monday morning, I woke to a furore not seen since elephant no 3 was refused entry onto Noah’s Ark for being too single. My crime? I had written an article in a national newspaper simply stating what everyone has known for years: that I am very, very tall.

During my secondary school years, Bridget the Midget topped the charts and I suffered endless ignominious slights from people who simply did not see what I saw when I looked in the mirror. Where they saw diminutive performers Jimmy Clitheroe, Peter Glaze and Titch (of Titch and Quackers fame), I saw Jane Bunford who, at 7 feet 11 inches, was the tallest English person ever born in the UK.

I can’t pretend that the comments did not hurt. Every time I walked into a room, people would move away, terrified that I might bump into pillars and bring them tumbling down, Samson-like, on their heads. Men who had married women of a diminutive stature would look on in envy as my frocks fell, sylph-like, from my delicate frame; dwarfs ran terrified to cupboards to hide, so immense was my stature.

I learned to live with my height, and there is no denying that it has brought me many benefits along the way. I have been given tickets to the giraffe house at London Zoo, passes and free champagne on the London Eye, and given a complimentary Conquer Your Vertigo programme at a major Los Angeles clinic.

I believe I have deserved those perks: as I was on constant call to replace light bulbs in every place I worked and saved many an executive from having to call out for a ladder, I have seen these things as merely part and parcel of the package I brought to the table.

But the downside has been immense. All men prefer tall women. Danny de Vito, Woody Allen, Verne Troyer – I will always be at an advantage when it comes to pulling. At two foot eight, Verne could be said to be punching above his height, but why should we deny what is an absolute truth: size is everything.

The social network marketplace went into meltdown when I explored the possibility that short people might not attract the kind of attention that I, as a giant, have encountered. Small people everywhere spouted forth incredible bile, claiming that it was not my height that had caused such widespread approbation, but the fact that I had spent so many years boasting about it, not only in print but everywhere I went socially.

I went on television to defend my position this week, but was met with the usual size-ist reaction from presenters far shorter than myself, and also a psychologist of the kind much favoured by daytime programmes these days.

It was not my height, they said, that was the problem; nor my acknowledging that I was, indeed, very, very tall; but that I had dared to voice it in public and blame small people’s attitudes for the devastation wrought in my life on a daily basis.

What can I say?

I am a giant.

I always will be.

And I have the column inches to prove it.

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