Small Uncle

by Shrinkingman

My name is Carl Hurst and I'm 40 years old, but kind of on the short side. Very short--I stand 2 foot 4 and weigh about 14 pounds. When I was born I was only about 14 and a half inches tall and since then I've about doubled my height; but I'm still pretty much among the smallest adults on the planet. The size of a 9 month old baby, maybe. (Though even babies of that height are probably a good 20 pounds, so they seem huge to me in that respect.)

I can type (the hunt and peck method) with my tiny hands but it's such a bother so I'm actually dictating this into a tape recorder and somebody else is transcribing it. My voice sounds as high pitched as a 3 or 4 year old's, and luckily the cassette deck has a pitch control which can be used to lower the pitch of my voice a bit so that it's easier to understand.

I have been homeschooled and do have some skills but for the most part I just hang around with the family members I live with. My brother Rick and his wife Gail, plus their two boys, Scott (11) and Jamie (4). Scott is exactly twice my height and maybe 6 times my weight, and even Jamie is a foot taller than me and three times as heavy. Needless to say, I'm often mistaken for being their baby brother when we go out. It may seem weird to think that an 11 year old boy can easily lift and carry a 40 year old man, but it's no problem for Scott. Just under waist high to him, and I'm as tall as Jamie's armpits...and again, he's only 4.

Needless to say, this is a world of giants for me and it's all I've ever known. I have an adult's brain but the body of a toddler. It's inconceivable that I could ever sit in a chair and have my legs touch the floor (well, other than a "baby chair"); impossible for me to consider being able to drive (even those motorized mini-jeep toys that are out there), and I can't ever really walk on my own for fear of being hurt or abducted. Scott and Jamie hang around with me a lot.

Sometimes I'll see kids who are a little older--maybe 12 or 13--and I'll think how ironic it is. These kids could physically drive a car because they're, what, 5 feet tall or so, but are too young to legally do so. I could legally drive a car, but am far too short. Not unless GM, Honda, or Ford decide to make a car for a man less than two and a half feet tall.

I can just about reach most doorknobs though sometimes I need to stand on tiptoe, and they're very hard to turn. My brother, sis-in- law, or nephews often have to help. If I get an urge for something from the fridge, I can open it but the door seems so heavy and I have difficulty taking out certain things. A can or small bottle of soda, no problem but 2 litre bottles are very bulky and big for me to drag out. (Oh and speaking of food, I eat a lot less than the adults or even the kids in our house. Often they'll take some of their own food and put it on a small plate for me to eat off of. Regular size spoons, knives, and forks are a bit tough to use so they give me some smaller plastic ones. And needless to say, I use a high chair. I'm used to the indignity of that. And more that a few times they kids have tried to "feed me" with that old "here comes the choo choo train" deal. Please.

We had a whole bunch of people over to watch the Super Bowl last night. Rick and Gail, the nephews, a couple of Rick's friends, and also some of Scott's classmates. The huge fifth-graders would run down the hall, sliding on their socked feet, and almost bowled me over a few times. They'd pick me up and lift me high, playing with me as if I was a baby. "Rockabye baby, in the tree top," they'd sing, cradling me as they would an infant, and knowing full well I was a 40 year old man. They loved the idea of being huge, compared to an adult...and would do things like have me "try on" their sneakers. My four-inch-long feet were half as long as theirs, of course. But I'd walk around, or attempt to, in them, as they giggled.

There was plenty to eat, with pizza, chips and dip, popcorn, soda, and beer. Knowing my size limitations (not much would get me drunk), they gave me a juice glass and poured a few ounces into it. Hey, I'm of age.

If you could imagine adults being 15 feet tall--well, that's how big they seem to me. I had to always be alert--when one of my brother's friends would head down to the bathroom, I'd step aside into the nephews' room, worrying that the colossus might accidentally knock me over, not seeing me.

Speaking of the bathroom, they kept a phone book near the toilet because I was too short to pee into the john and had to stand on it. The toilet also has an adapter for me, which I pull down when I need to use it. It makes the hole a bit smaller, so there's less danger of falling into the toilet when I sit down.

I'd sit on the couch next to one of the big guys like my brother; I felt puny but that's something I'm used to. If I sit all the way back, my legs don't even reach over to the edge of the cushion.

As I said before, I sometimes get mistaken for being a baby, though my face, when you look close, looks kind of "adult". I haven't been able to grow a beard--the best I can do is some peachfuzz-like facial hair. So when people do see me up close they can tell I'm an adult (if a very small one) but from far away, I look like a 9 month- old, maybe.

My nephew Scott goes to public school; Jamie is too young. My brother works full time; my sis-in-law, part time. There are some days when she's off at work and it's just me and the 4 year old. Time to baby-sit, which is sometimes tough to do when the child in question is bigger than you, despite being only 4. Rick and Gail know it isn't easy for me, but they trust me...and I have their cell phone numbers handy in case of an emergency. Fortunately, Jamie doesn't get into too much trouble. He watches TV and DVDs, plays with toys, or naps. Gail leaves us things like peanut butter sandwiches and half-pints of milk for lunch. Then Scott takes over when he gets home from school.

I can surf the Net though again, it's tough with small hands like mine. The dwarfism website has links to some people whose sites I have visited, and I sometimes talk by instant messenger. Very few people are as small as me, though. Some are maybe 2 foot 8, 2 foot 10, and so on.

When Scott comes home we sometimes go out to play. It isn't easy with short legs like I have, as I tire easily (and Scott can carry me, though he gets tired of that after awhile, too). I can't even think of keeping up with the boys as they run around. Of course in public I sometimes have to pretend I'm a very young boy, and these are my older brothers. When people are near, my vocabulary dwindles as I pretend to be, well, maybe a kinda-short- 1 year old. Of course Scott's friends know about me so no pretending them. Most of them are cool. They know it isn't easy for me though sometimes they can give me a bit of trouble, too.

(more later?)