Last evening, an elderly doctor I was introduced to asked me how I survived childhood.
For folks who don’t know me, I’m small — I mean, really small. I’m a smidge over 4’8″. Technically, I’m tall for a dwarf.
Only as an adult did I realize my smallness, to some extent, defined my habits. Teased in elementary school, I was ridiculously shy. Find me sitting at a school board table, and I can be fierce and demanding, the playing field innately leveled. In a crowd, I instinctively gravitate towards the kids.
Once upon a time, I know I cared tremendously. Now, being small is such a minor thing, a mere curiosity.
My job requires I ask questions of people — sometimes reflective questions, sometimes difficult ones. But this one? Like anyone else, I know people who have had terrible things in their childhood. But smallness? I skipped school sports and went to the library a lot. Could have been worse.
Here’s some Alice Munro….
‘The thing is to be happy,’ he said. ‘No matter what. Just try that. You can. It gets to be easier and easier. It’s nothing to do with circumstances. You wouldn’t believe how good it is. Accept everything and then tragedy disappears. Or tragedy lightens, anyway, you’re just there, going along easy in the world.
4 thoughts on “Small Talk”
I can honestly say that I’ve never thought of you as small…. not that it matters, I guess, just that it’s interesting how other people’s perceptions of us don’t always match our own.
That’s nice, Ben, although I have to admit, I think of you as one of the tall people. Does that match your perception?
I prefer “towering.” But close enough, I suppose.