There are three words in the English Language that rile me up like no other. Those words are, ‘Short Man Syndrome.’ I am a man of about 5’4. I am short. Petite. Tiny. There’s no getting around that fact. Every nickname I’ve ever had has been shaped around my lack of height. I would be mocked mercilessly whenever a ‘Stuart Little’ film would come out. But it’s something I’m mostly OK with. It’s not like I was born tall and suddenly shrunk as I grew older. A sort of Benjamin Button where by the time I’m 80 I’m living in someone’s coat pocket. It’s my experience of life. I’ve known no different.
However, there are a few things that have annoyed me.
Growing up (DO NOT MAKE A JOKE WITHOUT MY PERMISSION) I was the short kid. I was the kid who was forever being told I wasn’t the age I was. I’d turn up to an event, ‘Strictly For 10 Year Olds And Above’ and be told by an adult that I’d never met before that I wasn’t 10. I couldn’t be. I just didn’t look it. So while my friends were allowed into this exclusive event, I would be left sitting on one end of a seesaw, while a 6 year old stared blankly back at me from the other end, looking like my world had ended. This was a regular occurrence and up until about 14 I often found myself having existential crises on seesaws.
At festivals I just see the back of heads. That’s it. At Eminem, I saw the back of heads. At Arctic Monkeys, I saw the back of heads. At Green Day, I saw the back of heads. In my experience, festivals are just standing in mud staring at the back of someone’s head while some moron pisses into a plastic cup. Often, without my permission, I’m put on someone’s shoulders and like some sort of religious sacrifice, I suddenly have people staring at me as I uncomfortably dance along to a song I can barely hear.
As an adult, people have routinely picked me up. Strangers on night outs have literally picked me up and carried me across the dancefloor. It’s hard to look cool in a nightclub, when like a petulant child, you begin kicking your legs and slapping a stranger’s sweaty bald head, shouting, “LET ME DOWN THIS INSTANT.”
These are a few things that have annoyed me over the years, but without doubt, the biggest irritation of mine is a relatively new one. From my early 20’s onwards, whenever I have shown any emotion that could be considered negative, someone will inevitably roll their eyes and utter, “Short man syndrome.” I mean, how dare I be angry or frustrated like any other normal healthy functioning human being? It must be because I struggle to reach the top shelf in my fucking supermarket. It’s the only logical explanation. As a short man, I couldn’t possibly get annoyed for any other reason than the fact that I was never good at basketball. Damn those blasted hoop dreams of mine.
Tomorrow I could find my girlfriend in bed with another man and launch myself at him with a hatred I didn’t know was possible. Foaming at the mouth I would throw my fists at him and within seconds my lack of height would surely be brought into question. I’d find myself being chastised by a stranger in my bedroom while he was busy putting back on his underwear.
Me: You little bastard. I’ll kill you….
Cheating Man: Woah little man. Calm yourself down. Talk about short man syndrome.
Me: What do you…
Cheating Man: You should really see someone about that temper of yours, little fella.
Now, I am fully aware that getting angry at being accused of having short man syndrome is counter productive. It’s like me writing a blog complaining about putting on weight while simultaneously fisting chocolate cakes into my mouth. But it’s something that annoys me and as a human being I’m going to fucking express myself.
I will however end this blog with a warning. If anyone dares to comment. If anyone has the gall to even mention my height, I will fight you.*
*That is if you don’t put your hand on my head and make me pointlessly swing at you.
I HAVE VERY SHORT ARMS.