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Short people’s perspectiv on life - always looking up

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While eating dinner with some folks recently, the 1977 Randy Newman song, “Short People,” found its way into the conversation. Probably because I was bemoaning sitting in commissioners court for 2-3 hours in chairs clearly NOT designed with all of Grimes County’s citizens, employees and media reps in mind. Most at the table remembered the song but some had never heard it before. Just in case you haven’t, here are a few choice lines:

Short people got no reason to live

They got little hands, And little eyes, And they walk around, Tellin’ great big lies They got little baby legs, And they stand so low, You got to pick ‘em up, Just to say hello Well, I don’t want no short people, Don’t want no short people, Don’t want no short people, ‘Round here

According to Wikipedia, songwriter Newman grew to dislike the song as it caused him to receive several threats regarding its misinterpreted message. He said, “I had no idea there was any sensitivity, I mean that anyone could believe that anyone was as crazy as that character. To have that kind of animus against short people, and to sing it and put it all in song and have a philosophy on it.” No sensitivity, really?

I wasn’t the only one the song hit a nerve with. In 1978, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Isaiah Dixon, attempted to introduce legislation making it illegal to play “Short People” on the radio but was cut short by the Attorney General who said such a law would violate the First Amendment. My, how far the pendulum has swung in terms of what is considered unacceptable speech! Even my editing software attempts to censor me now.

Probably no one in Grimes County has been on the receiving end of more short jokes than Pastor Mac Vaughn but he takes it on the chin, uh, I mean on top of the head. Since I couldn’t find any evidence of rioting or looting by outraged short people, I’m going to propose that short people like Mac have a better sense of humor. We have to because, after all, only short people get comments like, ‘Stand up! Oh, you already are! Ha-ha!’

We do have our own club of sorts and descriptive greetings. I love it when Michelle Bobo calls me her “fun size friend,” a term of endearment from a wonderfully fun, short person in her own right.

I did indulge my fantasy of how I could exact retribution if I were president for a day and came up with a few Executive Orders. At first glance, they may seem a little punitive but it’s all in fun, right?

My first Order would require all chair legs in the United States be made short enough so my feet won’t dangle and will rest flat comfortably on the floor. Doctors know that crossing your legs, which short women often do to maintain contact with the ground, is unhealthy. It can lead to low blood pressure, spinal deformities, circulatory problems and ultimately contribute to deep vein thrombosis. These legitimate health issues are experienced by a specific segment of the population but are ignored by furniture designers and many business owners.

My second Order would provide each short person in America with an electric cattle prod, particularly reporters and photographers who find their view blocked at concerts, conventions, press conferences and rallies by tall people who are oblivious to the short people behind them. “Awareness” is the buzzzzzzz word, pardon the pun!

Seriously, why is it when “accommodations” are legally required for so many others, short people get the short end of the stick? Why do short people have to do all the adapting with footstools or standup desks? One size does not fit all!

Height is something that can’t be changed, any more than skin color, but so far, the only accommodation I receive is being on the front row when pictures are taken!

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.