I'm Down Here

I'm Down Here

By Shrinkingman

The giant wasn't watching where he was walking. He was headed straight for me, on legs nearly as long as I was tall. I tried to swerve out of his way but my foot slipped-- OOF!--he collided with me, knocking me to the ground.

"Hey, could you watch where you're going?," I asked.

"Oh, sorry-- I didn't see you," the giant replied, extending a long arm down to me so I could grab it and get up again. "My fault...sorry, kid."

Kid! He called me kid, but I'm 39 years old. I'm also 35 inches tall. I'm used to it. Used to being small and getting mistaken for being a kid.

The giant was actually just under 6 feet tall. Everyone's a giant to me--adults and kids. The smallest son or daughter you have may be taller than me.

Fortunately I wasn't hurt all that much. I kept going to my destination, a restaurant. As I finished eating I noticed a woman nearby getting up to leave but she forgot her glasses on the table. I hopped out of the chair, grabbed the glasses, and ran after her-- "I think ya forgot something..."

She turned around, looked down at me kindly, and thanked me. I recognized her right away; Carla Carr, meteorologist from the local Fox affiliate. "Hey, I love your weather forecasts." We talked a minute-- she said she loved little people and was thinking of doing a report on them for the newscast (sometimes they let her do feature stuff).

"I could feature you," she said. She gave me her card, including a home phone number scrawled on it. Somehow I could sense she wanted more from me than just a news feature story.

The news feature never did materialize. Carla and I hit it off as friends right away. More than friends, in fact...lovers. She did indeed love short men (like myself) and also our personalities clicked. Our senses of humor, our interests. She was a nice-looking, kindly woman who held me in her huge arms and I felt a great sense of love and belonging.

She had been divorced the year before (I had never married) and had custody of her 3 kids. Patrick was 12 and about 5'2". He was kind of soft-spoken but warm-hearted and artistically talented. Andrea was 11 and about 4'8"...she was like her mother in miniature. Kind, funny, and motherly. She'd make a great mother some day, or maybe a nurse or something. And Kevin was 7 and about 4'2"...he was imaginative, energetic, and very happy. In fact he was delighted to see how small I was--they all were..this guy who could be their new daddy was shorter than the 3 of them...and somehow the fact that I was so small made them love me all the more.

It was as if they were getting a new dad (maybe?!?) and a little brother all at once. Kevin would go up to me, look down (he was 15 inches taller than me), and say "hi little guy!!...you know I can help you reach stuff if you want." He grinned, knowing he was no longer the smallest in the family (yes, they now considered me one of them) and he felt like a giant.

Patrick and Andrea had fun with me, too. I would wear Patrick's huge clothing for laughs; my five-inch feet went into his gargantuan sneakers, and I'd drape his T-shirt on top of my own shirt--it went down to my knees! And Patrick and Andrea would pretend to be my mom and dad. They'd put some cookies on top of the fridge and I'd jump up and down saying "I wanna cookie"!

Well, Carla and I did get married. It may have seemed funny, seeing this tiny groom next to a 5' 8" bride, but there I was, with my new kids dwarfing me as well. A happy ceremony and reception. And a new life for little ol' me. (Oh, my name's Martin Rowley by the way. Nice to meet you.)

I do some work, graphic design on this very computer. Yeah, nice to be able to work at home. Sometimes Carla takes me along to parties and she's immediately recognized as the TV weather forecaster. She'll introduce her husband, yours truly, and often people will smile down at me and say, "Ah! And how's the weather down there?" Sigh. :)

There were many cute moments in this new life. One night Carla was doing her forecast on the 10:00 news and I was waiting for her to come home. I dozed off on the sofa, wearing my T-shirt, baggy sweatpants, and socks. I must have looked like a sleepy 4 year old. Well, my new son Patrick came along and gently lifted me up, one hand behind my back and one behind my thighs, and he set me down gently on my bed. I murmured "goo'night daddy" (half asleep). Imagine, a 12 year old kid putting his dad to bed...Cute.

Nice kids, all of them, and I get to see them get even taller than the giants they are now, while I stay the same height. You average sized people take so many things for granted. What if you were like me, an inch shy of 3 feet tall, living in a world of giants? What if you were too small to drive (ok, one day I may, with pedal extensions)... or you couldn't reach things without asking an average sized person, or having to drag a chair over to stand on? Life is not easy at this size and it's all I've ever known. I'm too short to look an adult in the eye (without standing on something) and even kids like Patrick, Andrea, and Kevin dwarf me. I'm so small people don't even notice me. Hey, here I am. I'm down here!!

Sometimes I wish I could be taller but I do like my small stature at times. I can be an adult yet feel like a kid (in a good way, that is; sometimes kids get talked down to or treated shabbily...but childhood is often fun, too). I can relax in the huge arms of my wife (and kids, too) or sit on their laps.

Then again, there are dangers to being this size. I was talking about that the other day on an Instant Message, with some 5'9" guy who says he wishes he could be small like me. "I'd worry about crime," he said. "There was a 10 year old kid near me who was raped and murdered by two guys. He was about 4'10" and 90 pounds. And you're..."

"2'11" and 35 pounds."

"wow...a kid that size would be like a giant to you. And if they can grab him, who's to say someone...well, I hate to think about it."

I hate to think about it too, there, big guy. "Well, my city's pretty safe. And I'm often with my wife or kids. At least one of them could walk with me. Imagine having a 7 year old bodyguard!"

"...who's a giant, to you"

"yeah. But sometimes I like walking alone and I'd hope I didn't run into trouble."

As it turns out, that's just what happened to me a couple weeks ago.

My family and I were off to Vermont, enjoying the pleasure of a state park. There was Carla driving with Patrick riding shotgun in the passenger seat; in the back, Andrea, Kevin, and what looked like a very young kid in a kiddie car seat-- no wait, that's me (LOL)!

We got out and enjoyed the lake. Carla, Andrea, and Kevin went for a swim and Patrick and I went for a walk. He had to go into a port-a-potty for a minute. I waited outside. A boy of about 12 came over and saw me. He was about Patrick's size, maybe even taller. My eyes were level with his elbows. This kid would probably not scare you big people but he was so huge to me--I mean, it would be like you folks meeting a 10-foot-tall 12 year old!

"Hey it's the lil' daddy." The kid had overheard me talk to Patrick. "They said there's fish in this lake but I didn't know there's shrimp!"

I tried to laugh but before I did I saw his right arm heading right for me--he pushed me down onto the ground! I'd be no match for him--he was over 100 pounds. Then he grabbed me with his long arms and picked me up, then ran off, holding me tight to his chest-- tried kicking him but nothing worked! I heard Patrick's voice in the distance-- "lil guy? Dad?"

Then I could hear him running toward me and the gigantic kid. Patrick grabbed the boy, who then dropped me and I fell to the ground, rolling over once or twice. Suddenly the kid's titantic sneaker was on my belly--his foot was holding me down while he tussled with Patrick, far above me. With all his might Patrick tackled the boy and sent him down on the ground, freeing me. My son started whacking the boy with his fists, and then the kid's dad decided to show up. The man pulled Patrick off his son and yelled at Patrick, who yelled back "he took my dad! It's his fault!"

"Your...dad?" The man looked down at me (I was coughing and trying to stand up) and noticed my face which looked kind of like a boy's, but also fairly adult. "My dad's a dwarf," explained Patrick. The man apologized to me and went off with his son, berating him for his errant behavior.

"You saved me!" I hugged Patrick, although my arms went around his waist and could barely fit around him.

"aw, no problem," he said.

"Buy you an ice cream, big guy?"

OK, it's almost a year later since I wrote the above stuff. Patrick's now 13, Andrea turned 12, and Kevin's 8...he grew 3 inches and is now a titanic 4'5". Keep in mind that "a foot" to me would seem like "2 feet" to you, so it would be like you having a 9-foot tall, 8-year-old son!

Graphic design isn't enough for me. I started to help out a guy named Bob who does a "giant and tiny people" website, writing some fiction. He keeps it pretty clean but sometimes he gets a flamer on his messageboard. The guy was pretty hateful, making all sorts of personal attacks on me and others. "You're a sad excuse for a person, Martin" he wrote; "I don't think you have a wife and if you did I bet she'd be worried about you! Get a life!"

The flamer, who called himself Destroyer and didn't have the courage to leave an email address, somehow thought my clean fiction (not that I did many stories) was perverted in some way. I replied to him that I did indeed have a wife and she was damn proud of me. I debated whether or not to tell him that I was a dwarf, figuring he'd just say, "oh you're playing the victim now...midget!"

OK, so I'm short of stature but that doesn't make me any less a person. I got talking with Bob, the guy who ran the site, and we both agreed that hate had no place in our hearts.

"Don't mind him," Bob told me. "He's a lost soul and I guess we can only feel sorry for him."
"Yeah, we don't need to waste our time on him. If he doesn't like our stuff, forget him."

Well, he drifted away from the site, fortunately. Heck I had no problem with the guy criticizing my stories, but getting into my personal life was too much. It was none of his damn business! I almost was gonna tell him that I was married to the gorgeous Carla Carr of the Fox 25 News Team but he'd probably figure I was making it up. ("That midget married to a vixen like her? No way! Women don't like short men!")

Then guess what happened.

I was back at the restaurant where I'd met Carla, having lunch with her. My son Kevin tagged along too. Kevin and I went to wash our hands and who should spot her sitting at our booth than the Destroyer himself (how was I to know he was in my town?). He went over to Carla and made his move.

By the time I got back to the table, she was laughing. "Well, sir, you should know that I'm married so I guess you're out of luck."

I looked up at the Destroyer and smiled. "She's all mine, bud."

The Destroyer laughed and said to Carla, "This is Candid Camera, right? How in the world could a fox like you marry a midget.."
"Hey, we don't say midget, we say dwarf, big guy," I interjected.

"That's right, you're not supposed to say midget," said my son Kevin with a big smile on his face. "My daddy only looks small. He's a giant to me in lots of ways!" This from a kid who towered over me by a good foot and a half...

I said to the Destroyer, "and now if you'll please let us eat our lunch..."

He went back to his table but he looked up when he heard me start talking about "the flamer on the messageboard".

"Don't let that get to you, Martin," said Carla.
"I'm not."

He stood up and walked over to me. "So! You're the little twerp on the messageboard, huh!"

Kevin interjected, "...and you must be the big jerk--"

"Kevin please," I instructed my son. "We don't want to stoop to his level." I gazed up at the Destroyer. "I may be short on height but I have class and respect for other people. I'm not so sure you do. Maybe if you treated other people with respect you may get some back in return."

He stormed back to his table angrily and went to start eating but he accidently knocked over his bowl with his spoon, sending hot soup down on his pants.

We tried not to laugh at the poor guy. I made a mental note to title my next story "Little Things Mean A Lot". After all, it's the little things in life that can mean so much in the long run.

Like me, maybe? :)