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The Other Vertically Challenged

This was my college application essay. Yes, really.


I’d like to talk to you about being tall. This, you may say, is not the most urgent, vital, or even interesting of topics for an essay, but I’m happy to accept the challenge. Being tall isn’t all that it is rumored to be. It sounds nice on paper, of course. Being able to reach the top shelf in a convenience store is certainly a popular goal. Unfortunately, though, people don’t realize the physical and psychological disadvantages of breaking the world’s unwritten six-foot height limit.

Let me take you on a journey through time, a journey back to the magical realm of nineteen-ninety-four. A mere youth of thirteen, I was sitting on the school bus, gleefully awaiting my chance to forget the woes of school with an afternoon of mind-numbing video games. When the bus stopped at my corner, I leaped from my seat, and, much to my surprise, came to a crashing halt. My six-foot-nothing self collided with the six-foot-nothing ceiling; my first taste of the horrors to come. This year, my father began leasing a Mercedes. It’s a beautiful, shimmering scarlet, with an obsidian canvas hood, and more computerized equipment than I knew the average mechanic could operate, let alone repair. What it doesn’t have is a roof that won’t dislocate half the vertebrae in my neck every time I sit up straight. In the sad, depraved world we live in, not even a luxury car company can be trusted to protect the vulnerably large populace. Every time I see a BMW rolling stylishly down the road I hang my head in shame.

Shame, yes, the vertically gifted know it well. Far too often is a promising young individual of imposing stature shunned for an imagined offense upon those smaller than he. Not long ago, I was berated when my brother burst into tears. Unbeknownst to my parents, he had hurt his foot in a blow to my shin, but I was assumed to be the antagonist based solely on my size. Meanwhile, when my fifty-eight-inch friend, Laura, crashed into me during a game of Frisbee, all those present were concerned for her well being. She wasn’t even bruised, but had broken my finger. Height does not indicate the aggressor in all situations, but the vertically gifted suffer the trauma of being constantly painted as villains. The shadow of stereotyping falls upon us all.

The super-sized members of our community have known little in their exceptionally large lives but bruised foreheads and bruised egos. To be brief, sirs and madams, I am a tall man. I know the injustices that often befall tall people in today’s society, be they physical impediments or psychological violence. I will tell you firsthand what others have known for years. Height is not worth the hype.