I lied on my drivers license when I obtained it at 17. For 23 years, I have been walking around with a lie in my wallet. I'm not 5 feet tall. I never was; I never will be.
On March 18, 1993 after passing my driving test, despite my inability to parallel park, which was an impossible skill due to the mounds of snow piled up in the parking area where I was taking my test (but mostly due to my inability to parallel park) I reported to DMV with whatever paperwork I needed to walk out a woman. Ok, maybe I wasn't there picking my womanhood, but for me, a drivers license meant freedom.
And back then, you didn't need 1000 points of light or whatever the hell they require of you now to prove who you are (thanks Bin Laden). My birth certificate and my dad and a note from the guy who administered the test were apparently all I needed. (Actually, I don't remember what I needed to get my license - who cares anyway?)
Like now, you had to fill out the card with the ridiculously tiny print - name, address, eye color, etc...And then, there it was: height. I looked for my dad for some advice, but shocker, he was outside smoking a cigarette. What should I do? What should I write down? I was memorializing my size forever and I didn't believe I would be 4'10" and 93 pounds forever. I just couldn't believe it. I had a little thing called hope. (And as it turns out, I also developed a penchant for junk food and beer and an allergy to physical movement I would discover in about a year - so 93 pounds wasn't going to last anyway. No longer could I come home from school and take down 6 Oreo cookies - yes, 6 - dipped in milk and maintain my svelte, 12 year old Jewish boy figure - sexy, I know.)
I made an executive decision: I would declare myself at 5 feet tall. What were the odds I would not continue to grow? Well, 23 years later, apparently those were some good odds. 59 inches. That's 4'11" for those of us with conversion problems. Luckily, with my return to a fit and healthy (ish) lifestyle I am proud to declare that the other day my scale told me I was 99 pounds (my scale also tells me I'm pretty, I'm smart and I'm going to "be amazing today." No, it doesn't. But I can tell you that gravity in my bathroom is very different from gravity at the doctor's office or the gym. I don't know why. But that other gravity can go screw itself. I like my gravity.)
In any case, I'm short and small. I've always been short and small. There are photos of me floating around Facebook from an eighth grade class trip to Washington DC. I look like I need a sandwich and to be adopted by Angelina Jolie. I looked like bones with some skin on it. No meat. How I have never broken a bone, I have no idea. (Yes I do, the Oreos and milk habit. Yay nutrition, kind of.) Of course, I have meat on my bones now because I finally hit puberty last week and all-you-can-eat Chinese food buffets were invented.
The weird thing was, I never really was teased for being short. Sure, I had nicknames like "Shrimp" and "Squeaker" growing up, but these were terms of endearment bestowed upon me by my very best school chums (yes, they were. Shut the hell up.) Really, being little was never anything that held me back, exactly. Sure, I wasn't going to be an overly successful basketball player (sucking at basketball didn't help anyway), but being small wasn't all that bad as a kid. Granted, I couldn't ride the bumper cars at the county fair without an adult until I was like 12 or 13 and I wasn't getting on any big roller coasters, but my family wasn't into amusement parks anyway. So being short wasn't all that bad (or maybe I am so traumatized, I don't really remember. Also, possible.)
The weird thing is, as an adult, it kinda sucks and I'm probably going to die from it. Seriously. Have you seen how close I have to sit to the steering wheel to drive? There is no way I survive a head-on or at least escape without having my face burned off by the blasted air bag. So that sucks. Every time I get into my car, I feel like a WWII kamikaze, preparing to face my certain doom driving into a B-52. I even take a shot of sake like they did. (No, I don't. That would be irresponsible.)
Another reason being small sucks is I can't touch in the pool and I have to swim the whole time. This is annoying. In the 4 foot deep section of the pool, I am struggling to keep my head above water. And so, I can't play water polo on vacation. Believe me, I've tried. Nothing says vacation like a competitive and quasi-violent rugby like game in the resort pool with a bunch of mostly drunk people you don't know. For me, nothing says vacation like nearly drowning during said polo match.
For whatever reason, while on vacation this week, my cousin and I have become the target of the activities people. It's probably something I said and then they probably said "Oh, you don't like to have fun" and then I had to assure them "Yes, I love to have fun" and then we ended up twerking on stage in front of the entire resort. Yay, fun!
Yesterday, I got dragged away from my chair and book and entered into a "biggest splash" contest - spoiler alert: the enormous drunk guy from England is gonna win this thing. He's going to belly flop into the pool and everyone will go "Ohhh!" even though it will hurt us more than it will hurt him, and then we will all cheer for the big fat guy for humiliating himself in front of the resort. And he will charmingly say, "Cheers" as the activities people award him with a bottle of Jamaican rum, because that's what this guy needs, more alcohol.
Anyway, I didn't win the rum. I don't even think I made a splash. But I apparently leapt really high according to the video footage. Unfortunately, there was no prize for who could jump the highest into the pool. If there had been, I totally would have won that.
The next activity was the water polo. And as targets of the activities people, an attempt to once again drag me out of my chair and away from my book was made. My cousin, who is maybe an inch or two taller than me (we come from a long line of wee folk) was a good sport and joined the game.
"Oh no, I don't water polo," I told the activities girl by the name of Roly Poly (how badly do you think I want to find out why they call her Roly Poly?).
"Come on mon, everyone does the water polo," she tells me.
"No, I don't. And I just jumped in the pool and didn't win rum, so I'll watch."
She took a few more runs at me, tried to use some Jamaican Jedi mind trick, but I resisted. And I'm glad I did. After the game was over, my cousin (who is a personal trainer and body builder, mind you) admitted to having a hard time just then because she's short.
"Yes, and that's why I don't water polo," I told her, "I'm too short."
"You could've done it," she tells me, "I did." And she was right. I probably could have played if I really, really wanted to. I just didn't want to work that hard on my vacation and risk death by drowning, especially since my air bag will probably kill me someday anyway. I'm going to just wait for that. I've seen that movie, Final Destination.
So, really the moral of the story is, my short stature does not have to limit me generally. I don't do water polo for the same reason I don't ride the Incredible Hulk ride at Universal Studios; I really don't want to. (Actually, there are 2 distinct but related reasons why I don't do those things: 1) I don't want to and 2) I'm scared of the Incredible Hulk ride. It goes fast and upside down and I don't want to do that.)
And the second moral of the story is, over estimating my height on my drivers license has had absolutely no consequences on my life and also was not enough to will me to grow another inch. I probably should correct it when I renew this year, but then again, I am still hopeful I'll hit 5 feet someday. It's possible, right?