My 5-year-old son is short. He's short now, and he's going to be short when he's all grown up. That's what worries me. I'm short, like 5'1". My husband is also short, like 5'4". And my son is a slow grower, a doctor-certified late bloomer.
He's going to go through most of his life—and certainly most of his adolescence—as the little guy. He'll likely be the shortest boy in his class throughout school. He'll be the one the girls like to squeeze and cuddle as if he were a stuffed animal, but don't want to date. The one the guys pick on, tease and beat up. And that makes it hard to send him off into the world, knowing that he may be ostracized because of some genetic snafu.
I know some people will insist that those days are over, that Randy Newman wouldn't have a hit with "Short People" today. I disagree. While society argues about the antics of Imus and Isaiah there are a lot of other, lower-profile prejudices that have supposedly gone by the wayside but are still alive and thriving. My husband can tell you story after story, not only about what he went through as a kid, but how even as an adult, many of his peers still think it's funny to call him "Shorty."
Recently, a close friend was talking about a cop who had gotten in her face about a minor traffic violation. "He definitely had Short Man Syndrome," she sneered. She never would have said he suffered from Black Man Syndrome or Gay Man Syndrome. But somehow, saying his size made him angry was supposed to be OK, even funny. But it's not. It's insulting.
Life is going to be hard for my little guy, and there's nothing I can do about it. And that pisses me off.