Sunday, July 10, 2016

I Don't Remember Shrinking! (Fantasy)

I stand in my stocking feet in my doctor’s office.  “I’m 5’7”- I know I am," I cry defensively. "Could you remeasure me, please?” 

Middle-aged Nurse Stevens sighs. “Okay… leave your shoes off and stand against the wall…again.” I do and she frowns. “Stand straight, keep your head up.” Then, under her breath, "Need every last millimeter we can squeeze out."

She could have skipped that last bit. I’m determined to demonstrate my five-foot-seven-ness. I strain my neck muscles and will my head to defy gravity! I think of kids who at this very moment are standing in line for their first ride on the Supreme Blue Thunder Rocket of Death. If all goes well today, I can teach them the secrets of cranial levitation so they can be tall enough!

The world around me fades and now I’m standing in the defendant’s dock of the World Court of Truthfulness in Height. Nurse Stevens has morphed into 6’1” Judge Stevens, resplendent in a shimmering black mid-thigh judicial robe. Her long slender legs terminate in 5” stilettos. Ominously, she asks, “Has the jury reached a verdict, madam foreperson?” 

The jury foreperson, herself well over 6’, adjusts her spectacles and reads from a legal pad- “On the charge of ‘five-foot-four-ness,’ we find the defendant, Chuck Pierson, guilty. On the charge of impersonating a taller person, we find the defendant guilty.” A buzzing sound builds in my head…the courtroom scene fades like the hopes of a hog at a bacon convention. 

“Mr. Pierson…Mr. Pierson…are you ok?” 

“My attorney was incompetent…I want a retrial, a remeasurement, something! “ I focus on the room around me. Nurse Stevens leans toward me with a concerned expression.

“Mr. Pierson, you’re not making sense!” She indicates a nearby chair. “Please sit down.” 

Other patients and medical staff smile consolingly as they walk by shaking their heads. I’m sure they’re thinking, “Poor man…understand he used to be 5’7” tall. So sad.”

My head spins and the scene changes once more. I’m in my childhood bedroom with its nautical-themed solid maple furnishings. On the back of  my door are a series of hash marks with dates and heights. The final date was ‘1/18/58,’ my seventeenth birthday.

I hear my Dad’s voice, proud and precise- “Five feet, eight and seven thirty-seconds of an inches tall. Handy to know when we buy your graduation suit.” Did I mention he was an aeronautical machinist and accustomed to measuring things down to a thousandth in of an inch? Must have been off of his game that day.

Fast forward to my college years. A doctor measures me as 5’7” and I put that on all future drivers license applications. 

Then I’m back in 2014 and working my way through the height-loss grieving process: anger, denial, bargaining and acceptance. I’m proud of the A I got in Anger and the B+ in Denial. But I only got a C in Bargaining and I’m currently flunking Acceptance. 

What now?  Do I start a new set of hash marks…ones that show my height diminishing each year? 

Oh, as a side note- until my fifties I had a full head of hair. In a cigar box on the top shelf of my closet I have my old drivers license photos to prove it.  

Damn, I can’t reach the box! “Honey! Can you reach my cigar box for me? Please…”

© 2012-2014                    Charles E. Pierson                   All Rights Reserved

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