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Friday Philosophy – Want to Get On in Business? Don’t Start from Down Here February 13, 2015

Posted by mwidlake in Friday Philosophy, humour, off-topic, Private Life.
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I had a manager a few years ago, a lady. She was good at her job, knew the tech and we got on well. And she would take the piss out of me constantly about my height (and other things). One day, another member of the team suddenly said “Hey! Leave him alone! He might actually be sensitive about it and it’s wrong you should be bullying him like this”. My boss replied “Oh come on, he’s not sensitive about it! He takes the Mickey out of himself all the time!”

“Besides… He’s too short to do anything about it.”

It was bloody funny and I think all of us laughed at that – but my defender had a point. I might joke about my height at times and most of the time I’m fine about how tall I’m not, but day after day of comments and jokes? And other stuff? Crouch down here beside me for 5 minutes and I’ll show you the view…

I am small. If you have not met me, I stand five foot and two and a half inches (158.5cm) tall in my socks. Don’t forget the half inch, it’s significant. I have no medical condition, no dwarfism, no biochemical challenges, no lack of food as a child, nothing is wrong to make me small. My parents were small, my grandparents were small, my brothers are similar to me. I’m just small. All of me is in proportion, with one notable exception.

My Ego – That’s huge.

The Three Martins at UKOUG Tech14

The Three Martins at UKOUG Tech14

(The above picture is a bit of a trick actually, to emphasis my not-height. look at the £10 notes, mine looks  slightly small than the other two Martin’s notes. That is because I am standing about 18 inches behind them and, as the picture is taken on a smartphone, the camera is only about 4 feet away and does not show depth of field well. It’s called forced perspective.  And why the suit? I’d just hosted the keynote for the conference. The other two were just slumming it, enjoying the talks.)

I should not complain too much. I have all my limbs and senses, everything physical works well, my brain does a pretty good job {despite a few quirks}, I have lots of friends and a wife and I’ve done OK in my career. Actually, no. Let the positive be positive and the negative be negative – My wife is smart, attractive and extremely capable and I’ve done well in my career. I present internationally, I’m acknowledged by my peers and I’ve been asked to be involved in some great projects.

But it is a Bit Shit Being a Short Man.

As my friends and colleagues are aware, I sometimes make a joke of being small. I can be the first to mention it and I can sure as hell make fun of myself about it if I so decide. However, it is a defense mechanism. Don’t even think of taking the piss out of me for being small as, hey, I’m already doing it and I can do it a lot better than you, should I wish – I have almost 4 decades of practice {anybody remember the nose-jokes scene by Steve Martin in Roxanne? Go check the link, it’s one of his funniest scenes}. If I am willing to joke about being small I rather effectively remove the ability for someone else to do so to abuse me about it and also give them permission to mention it. That last point is important, I’ve known people get anxious about not mentioning my height in case it upsets me, and that gives them problems and there is no need.

My boss above was not being attacking in her jokes as I’d shown I was not sensitive. With my approach I’ve taken away most of the potential for someone to be directly negative about my height unless they are willing to be very, very pointed and very obviously unpleasant. Since leaving my early 20’s, very few people have been willing or inclined to do that, so it is an effective strategy. {In fact, the majority of direct heightist abuse I have received in the last few years has been, ironically, some odd people who attacked me over this article, as they felt I was so obviously being a “clown to get acceptance” or not being angry enough – see the comments to this post}.

But for those who know me well, it sometimes becomes annoying. I’m constantly taking steps to establish this defense and as a result I occasionally harp on about my height. Some suggest I stop doing it as it is boring and unnecessary. I should not put myself down. {Down!}. They may be right, but it is a defense mechanism that has served me well and I guess I err on the side of over-emphasising it. So I’m sorry if it bugs some of you, but allow me my oddities please.

{*sigh* – update. Nearly everyone who has commented to me about this blog post (in person, on twitter, or on this blog) have been positive, nice, said they had never considered the accepted & pervasive impact of heightism. Some even apologised for it. Apart from a few short-centered groups who got angry, mostly as they assumed I used humour in a “I’m wearing a big red nose and doing funny mimes” way. No. My humour is not sycophantic. I use irony (like sarcasm but more passive-aggressive, unlike sarcasm which is just aggressive), perspective, even science. If you are short and don’t like that I ever find things funny, like not being able to reach the car mags as they tend to be up the top with the other “bloke” magazines, then sorry – I’m not trying to offend you. I don’t demand you handle things the same as I do. But in return I have no time for anyone who tells me I am wrong to laugh at things.}

But there is one area where humour does not help and it is an area where I probably get the most discrimination since leaving school (where the old standards of being hit, pinned down, thrown or similarly physically messed with were more popular – oh, for the sweet innocence of childhood).

As a Small Male, in some business situations, I am sometimes not listened to or taken seriously by people – especially management. Management is full of Alpha Males {actually, in IT mostly it’s beta males, all the Real Men are in finance, sales or other crime}. This is true even when I am a fellow manager. I can’t number the times I have been in a meeting, said something and the conversation has continued as if everyone had just taken a moment to look out the window, rather than listening to someone contributing. Many times I’ve had that galling experience of an idea I put forward being ignored until someone else, someone… more tall… says the same thing and then it is a great idea. Or of being talked over by an Alpha Male. Repeatedly. Early on I made the mistake of challenging this head-on a few times and the response was either simple denial or, worse, condescension. “Oh don’t be so sensitive Martin” or “Of course we value your input, don’t be so silly and just grow up”. Yes, I’ve had that.

I suspect most women reading this will be recognising these issues and saying “Yep, welcome to my world”. For a long time I’ve felt there is a parallel between being a small male in a working environment, especially in management, and being a women. Don’t get me wrong, small men don’t get the constant other hassles women get. I don’t get looked up {err… looked down in my case?} , I never feel like I am being hit on {or maybe I am just missing it, I’m terribly naïve}, no one has come up to me in a conference and said “my friend likes you, will you come and talk to him” {my wife has had this – she said it was like being back to school parties but with an extra element of Creepie}. But I often get ignored by management and my input to discussions gets downgraded. I’ve watched this happen to female colleagues year after year, it is a real issue. Some men will listen politely to women but it is simply listening politely – before they mentally rewind the meeting to before the “delightful lady said something” and continue with the proper matter in hand. They do exactly the same to my input. I’m not an alpha male, I’m a child, it’s nice that they let me be there and join in.

But unlike sexual or most other forms of discrimination I also have no real recourse to… Anything. There is of course no legal position on heightism. There is also no social pressure on or condemnation of heightism. In fact, if anything it’s the opposite. “You silly little man”, “Grow up”, “you pathetic little sh*t” and a whole catalogue of insults with the word “little” or “small” or “tiny” thrown in for emphasis. There are plenty of sitcoms where the small guy is the dweeb or the butt of the jokes. Not many films where the action hero is played by someone like Danny DeVito. And if the actor is small, efforts are taken to hide that (how many of you are thinking Tom Cruise? – who is all of 4 inches below average! He’s not small!!! He’s in the normal 60-70%!). If I challenge the attitude directly it rarely goes well, especially if I am angry. Apparently, there are few things funnier than a small bloke jumping up and down with a red face squeeking “Take me Seriously!!!”. It’s also very tiring. I have to jump quite high to be seen past the desk. And suggesting I am acting like a child is just more damned height discrimination you… dickhead.

Even when people are trying to be nice to short men they often just continue the discrimination without noticing, thinking it’s some sort of complement. Think about it, how often when someone small is being praised do they say something like “He may only be small but inside there is a giant” or “Dave may not be the tallest guy but, in respect of {blah}, he towers above us”. They are still saying short is bad and tall is good! You would not say of someone who’s fat “Derek may be obese but inside he has the physique of a Greek God”. And you would certainly not ever, ever say “Mike may be black but inside there is a white guy trying to get out”!!!

Do you think I’m making too much about this? I am being overly sensitive to a problem that does not really exist? Well, stay crouched with me and do a quick web search on the correlation between height and pay, height and political success, height and business success {NB three different links, just to “google.uk” really}. Again, women will recognise all this.

And of course, I don’t have issues with my height all the time. Many people listen to me, especially if I am talking as a technical expert as opposed to a manager. I have managed to function well as a manager and sometimes when I make a side reference to it, people will stop and go “oh. Yes, I see what you mean”. But it is a constant background bloody maddening annoyance.

Interestingly, I mentioned this all to a friend a while back when we were discussing the hard time women and ethnic minorities can have and at first I think he just listened politely. A couple of months later we were chatting again and he said something like “you know, I’ve been thinking about what you said. I’ve never had a short manager, most senior people I come across are at least average or tall. The small men I come across are all technicians”. Apparently size is not seen as a negative when it comes to using your brain. But it is when it comes to negotiation, winning arguments and leading.

So thanks for crouching down here with me for a few minutes to take in the view, you better stand up again before your knees give you hell.

There is nothing I can really do about the above, it’s just a fact of life that heightism is there and at least it is not a type of discrimination that is aggressive or hateful, unlike the serious ones that society does or is starting to tackle. But I just wanted to mention it, to get it off my chest. It’s been weighing me down.

Finally, remember that half inch of height I said was significant? Well, it is – but not maybe in the way you might think. When I was personally hung up about my height, especially when I was in my teens {and actually just into my 20’s} and still growing, then every half inch of height was significant as it was me “improving”. When I stuck at 5’2.5” the .5 was important as it pushed me into the normal 5th-95th percentile for height – or it did if you were looking at a graph from a pretty old encyclopaedia, like I was. Average height has risen by a couple of inches in the last 50 years and varies from country to country. Thus  I’m not even close to the normal range now. Can I just say that it’s really mean of you guys to have moved the goal posts by growing even more. But the 0.5 inch took on a new significance in my late-20’s – as I stopped worrying about it or mentioning it if anyone asked my height. I’m small, that’s not going to change and it’s fine. I mention the half more now than I did then, as it makes me smile when I say “5 foot 2… and a half”. It’s significant. Significant in that it is no longer important.

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Comments»

1. oraclebase - February 13, 2015

Aaarrgghhh!!!! Must take the piss. Must take the piss. This is killing me! 🙂

I kind-of know what you mean. I’m a fatty and I take the piss out of myself about it all the time. I’m not too bothered about others doing the same, but when it is constant it gets on your nerves. I typically sit on them… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

mwidlake - February 13, 2015

The thing is Tim… Inside that fat body I *know* you have the physique of a Greek God trying to get out!

Seriously, it’s working. I remember you before you went back to the working life and you were trim and fit.

Hope that helps.

2. Long suffering wife - February 13, 2015

Try being a short woman in a technical area of IT…. Thinking that I’m the ‘trainee’ or secretary of the team as opposed to the manager is commonplace… Best not to upset me and cast aspersions on my skills… Otherwise I might screw you not in the way you had anticipated…

mwidlake - February 13, 2015

Note to everyone else on the planet. Don’t upset my wife. It’s very unfortunate for you if you do. As an ex-DBA and ex-Sys Admin, the number of technical teams she has terrified when she audits them number in the dozens.

3. jgarry - February 13, 2015

Being a continent and ocean away from you, I had no idea.

My favorite hardware person, Harvey, was, I think, two-and-a-half inches shorter than you. His wife was a few inches shorter. I’m as tall as I would want to be, nearly a foot taller than you, I don’t have enough head room in many cars.

Harvey taught me a lot. I knew him from several places in the early ’80s, as non-DEC DEC technicians were a small world. I worked for a security company, and saw how he befriended the operators so he could bypass the security going in and out with parts – I believe my first actual sighting of computer social engineering beyond phone-phreaking. This was at the same time of certain events related in Kevin Mitnick’s book Ghost in the Wires (which I recently read and was gobsmacked to realize I knew people in the book and must have crossed paths with him at DECUS).

Harvey had a bit of a Napoleon complex (people think that a lot, eh?), and he wound up buying an 8500 square foot house in Anaheim Hills, with extra-high ceilings. It was humorous seeing little people in big house.

That security company also employed some dwarfs, at least one of which I saw on TV.

It takes all kinds and all sizes, and vive le difference.

mwidlake - February 13, 2015

>It takes all kinds and all sizes, and vive le difference.

Indeed, we are all different and have something to add.

I’d have to do another post to cover the Napoleon complex and also the small-man-as-a-child issue! Maybe too specific for this blog.

Oddly enough, I once had a home with 14 foot ceilings and was 3,500 square foot excluding the 800 sq ft loft room :-). Unusually large in the UK. What made it even more odd was there was just my wife and I there, with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 2 kitchens. However, it was bought due to the investment potential rather than to balance any… issues. The place was a run-down tip but structurally sound and we spent 5 years doing it up. One item we had to buy was a scaffolding tower – so we could change the light bulbs on the first two floors! I’ll try and blog a picture of the place for you.

It’s a bit odd but, given my fairly unusual stature, I’ve never real met many dwarfs in the flesh. I did meet one though, who was taller than me! He had the characteristic short limbs. long torso and reduced mobility of the most common forms of dwarfism but came from a very large family. He was about 5’4″ and his brothers were 6’6″ or so. He got extremely belligerent if dwarfism was mentioned so I never had the conversation with him.

4. Noons - February 16, 2015

On the other hand if you’re a frequent flyer, being short nowadays is definitely an advantage!
I do well remember how I could easily sleep in long-haul flights, more than 20 years ago.

Unfortunately with age, I got around 1″ taller and many “s wider.
To the point where I can’t fit into a normal coach-class seat in any airline.
I have to check-in flights in advance so that I can grab an aisle seat at worst, or one of the seats near an entrance alley at best. There is simply no way I can fit in a window seat, for example. Have tried, no go.
Add to that a huge case of claustrophobia and my reluctance to fly anywhere is easily explained.

mwidlake - February 16, 2015

This is true, public transport is one area where being small can be a real advantage. I do feel sorry for the very tall in planes, I’ve seen people who simply can’t sit “straight” as their knees ram into the seat in front.

However, claustrophobia is enhanced in planes when you are short as all you can see is the seat-rest 12 ” in front of you. I sit on a cushion if I they are provided, so that I can peep over the seat ahead just a little, see a bit of roof further down the plane 🙂

5. Jeff Smith - February 16, 2015

Great read Martin. Folks often tell me that I’m taller than they thought I’d be, and I never know how to take that..is that good, bad? Was I lesser before when you just saw my avatar?

mwidlake - February 16, 2015

Now you come to mention it Jeff, yes – you struck me as quite tall when I met you and probably taller than I expected. I don’t think I had made any conscious conclusions about your height before we met, you were just outside “average”.
Is it good? Is it bad? I’d say neither, it’s just an aspect of you. It’s what you say, do and intend that are significant as far as I am concerned and, based on that, you are one of the good guys.
I also seem to remember that you bought me a pint, even though I’d said I’d get you one that evening. So I think you are gentleman and a scholar too 🙂

thatjeffsmith - February 16, 2015

I compensate for my dicketry by buying people pints, that’s my self-defence mechanism 🙂

6. Stewart Bryson - February 16, 2015

I have nothing to add.

7. Joe - February 17, 2015

My advice to you is to get your head completely out of the sand. It’s partly out, but that’s not enough. That is my advice to all short people, and especially short men. By the way you speak I get the impression you’re in the UK someplace. Heightsim is a very real prejudice and whenever I see a post like yours, I almost always see a short guy – it’s almost always a guy – apologizing for his post, and saying words to the effect that heightism is not in comparison with other so-called “prejudices”. But just ask yourself a simple question: If this manager that you had a few years ago had demonstrated the same sort of behavior toward anyone else on the basis of any one of a number of characteristics like, skin color, race, creed, sex, sexual orientation, religion or anything else, she would have been fired the next day. Is this so hard for short people to understand when they trivialize their own degradation, which is what you were doing above?

“Besides . . . he’s too short to do anything about it.”

I can’t imagine this woman saying words to that effect about a Black, Muslim, Jew, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Hispanic, Fat person, etc. Can you? Is it so difficult for you to realize what is so simple for me to see??? And then you say:

My Ego – That’s huge.

No. Your ego is not huge. HER EGO IS HUGE. AND THE BLATANT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST SHORT PEOPLE IS HUGE. That’s what’s huge. You also stated:

But it is a Bit Shit Being a Short Man.

No. You’re wrong. It is a “bit Shit” being wantonly discriminated against, abused, harassed and violated because of your short stature.

My website states plainly what should be obvious to all short people. I suggest very strongly that you visit it and continue your awakening process.

Thanks very much.

mwidlake - February 17, 2015

Thanks for your input. Yes, I live in the UK.
You are very passionate about this aren’t you? I used to be, way back in my 20’s and it didn’t help, it just generated the stereotypical image of the perpetually angry short guy.

I’m not aware of short people being denied the vote, banned from travelling on the same transport or being in the same schools as tall people, inter-height marriages being banned, groups of us rounded up and put into camps, daily reports of small people killed by mobs. So no, I don’t see this issue as quite being up there with racial, religious, sexual or ethnic bigotry. Sure, there can be a fair amount of physical bullying especially when we are kids – but that goes for people with red hair, lisps, fat, very tall, wonky eyes, different accents. None of it is right but if you can’t see a difference I would suggest you have an issue with proportion? (no pun intended).

If I am trivialising my own treatment, why have I blogged about it (on a blog that has nothing to do with heightism)? and why do I take steps to nullify such treatment when I am unlucky enough to encounter it? I might not handle it the way you do but that’s your and my choice and to tell me I am doing it wrong is you trying to force your opinion on me.

And thanks for the comments on my ego – I’m going to enjoy letting my friends know I’ve found someone who thinks my ego is small.

The lady manager, who all you know about is the brief mention in the above, had a healthy and balanced ego. She also (a) hired me and listened to my advice (b) had built a team of mixed age, race and sex and (c) handled a disciplinary situation with one of the team in the best manner I’ve seen. She didn’t see the harm her jokes could make until it was pointed out to her and then they stopped, best I remember. I don’t think me getting angry with her would have achieved the same impact.

8. Joe - February 17, 2015

I’m not aware of any groups where you’re located being denied the right to vote, or being banned from traveling on the same transport either. And what group where you are is being rounded up and put into camps? You have a gift for trivializing your own 2nd class citizenship, but I’m not surprised. Killing the messenger is something that short guys like yourself sometimes do. You’re partially aware of your own plight, but don’t like another short guy who is totally aware. When what happens to you happens to a member of another group, they have someplace to turn to, short people don’t, as you yourself admitted above. Hey! I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you start your own comedy routine and do stand-up? By the way you write you’re sure to be a hit with the audiences AND – this is what is wonderful – you can degrade yourself and other short guys and GET PAID FOR IT. Isn’t that wonderful? You can get laughs AND $$$$ for it too!!! And then you can go back to that lady manager and say something like,

Oh boy lady manager! I really told that Joe guy off! I love my servitude! I’ll even lick your boots for you too!!! Oh boy! I like being demeaned!

I may mention you in my next broadcast, seeing as how you are partially aware of your plight, but just not ready to admit to yourself that you are a 2nd class citizen.

Joe

Tim Hall - February 18, 2015

Joe: It sounds like you have got more important issues than your height to deal with. You sound like you’ve let this become all-consuming. If a bird shits on my head, I don’t assume it did it because I’m fat!

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re a victim or you will certainly become one! More importantly, don’t assume everyone else should/must feel the same as you or you will become as bigoted as those you are “fighting”. Tolerance is a two-way street.

Cheers

Tim…

mwidlake - February 18, 2015

Thanks Tim. Wise words as always.

Joe - February 22, 2015

One of the issues that I have to deal with unfortunately are folks like you. You really are the king of logic aren’t you? Just like your comedian friend.

mwidlake - February 18, 2015

I’m stunned. You really think heightism is up there with those others? Are you ignoring world news and modern history? (within my lifetime – I was working when Apartheid ended, Rwanda racial cleansing, Yugoslavia and ethnic cleansing continued to 2000’s – I was named after a guy in the US who got murdered for suggesting blacks and whites could be equal – “I have a dream…” and all that?). Many cultures still treat women as second class citizens, in how many countries is homosexuality still a criminal offence, where anyone not of the correct ethnic background is inferior. In India and several other Asian countries in many areas you cannot marry across cast. If I’m right there is no right to gay marriage across much of the US? I Can’t remember *any* such injustices based on height. Not recent enough? Not nation-wide enough? Not US enough? Just go and read a few newspapers to find occurrences of violent racial hatred, women being raped, religious persecution. Or talk to black/Hispanic/gay/female/disabled friends about their fears and experiences in the last 5 years. I’d suggest you need to better understand that being small is a challenge but not the largest challenge out there. By a long way. What awful things have happened to you to make you so… viscous in your response?

And personal ranting attacks are not going to help you be taken seriously either. I made that mistake a few times when I was 2 decades younger. I’m not trying to patronize you, just saying I’ve been angry like you and it did not help me much.

Thanks for the tip on the new career. I know you were being patronizing but I already do comedy routines. My next presentation, in Ireland next month, is a humorous discussion on I.T. disasters and what we learn from them. I mention some of my own disasters. I don’t mention my height. As a second class citizen, I seem to be being taken seriously by most people I know, just not all. Sadly, I don’t get paid.

Now, having been off-line for 30 hours, I need to go and do some other things.

Joe - February 22, 2015

Your comments make no sense. On the one hand you’ve got some awareness of the heightism that you’re a victim of, yet on the other hand you attack people who attack it. In all candor you’re a silly little short man who doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going. All I read here from you is this defense of every other group except the group that you’re a member of. You were the one who said:

“But it is a Bit Shit Being a Short Man.”

I never said once in my life said anything similar. Seems to me you’re the one complaining.

“And personal ranting attacks are not going to help you be taken seriously either.”, is another of your statements.

Let me tell you something, i could throw endless logic to someone like you, and you’ll still never get it. And nobody’s throwing personal ranting attacks at you, all I did was throw a little logic your way, and you interpret it as an attack.

” I already do comedy routines”.

I know. I can smell you 10 miles away around a corner. Short men comedians are some of not only the most deluded short men around, but they can never take a topic seriously, especially this one; it might hurt their profits. So why don’t you just stop complaining and go back in your place, like the little man that you are? Oh that’s right I forgot! You already ARE in your place!

Now you go and “do some other things”.

9. Jeffrey Kemp - February 18, 2015

Someone attacking someone because they (apparently) aren’t aware of how badly off they are. That’s a new one.

Joe - February 22, 2015

Who’s being attacked?

10. Joe - May 5, 2015

Your plight is now on our website.

mwidlake - May 5, 2015

{previous comment removed because, frankly, Joe does not deserve the olive branch}
“our site”. It’s you in your bedroom isn’t it Joe? At least you never lied about your name.
*sigh*. You attacked again. Even when I handed you the opportunity to take the moral high ground or at least start an adult dialogue, you had to attack.
Good bye Joe. Keep screeching in the wind if you must. Nothing by you will get on this site again unless you spoof your details.
I checked some stats. No one is listening to you. For all your anger, it’s almost like you barely exist on the internet. Just comments on other sites beseeching them to come look at your output of anger.
If you are going to attack people, check their background first. It might stop you looking like a fool. Hint, Pyschology.
You’ve attacked another 3rd person who 1 minute’s effort on google by you would have shown you was a real person, but no you just flame. So you are removed from this site. That is a first, I’ve never sanctioned anyone but myself before. Go say what you want on your video posts or blogs, whatever. I’m sorry you are so troubled.
Still only 4 hits.

11. Martin Klier - May 5, 2015

Cool topic, and not unimportant, thanks Martin for covering it.
I’m tall (6ft 5 / 198cm) and as a tall man, to be honest, I often tend to see short men as walking inferiority complexes. This may be true in some cases, but basically it’s a prejudice. And prejudices are hindering human interactions, and thus, business and friendship. Working on it. 🙂

By the way: Being tall has its disadvantages – you always stick out, and nails sticking out are hammered first.
And just an idea: Is there a statistic covering body height vs. number of severe head injuries? 🙂

Regards
@MartinKlierDBA

mwidlake - May 5, 2015

Thanks Martin – if you ever visit my house, you would probably get more head injuries. Part of it dates back to 1700 and has very low doors!

I probably would have re-enforced your perception of walking inferiority complexes when I was in my late teens and early 20’s 😦

12. Alan McClung - May 17, 2015

OK. I get it. I’m 5’3 but I always say I’m 5’4. I guess I feel the need to include my shoes as a part of my height. I like Joe am quite frustrated by the way society doesn’t feel the need to recognize people of smaller stature as 100% serious people. Sometimes I laugh about being a “Half-pint” then sometimes I don’t. It’s easy for me to start a conversation at a pub stool and feel 100% human, however if I am in a crowd to see an event like a parade I very much get the impression from those around me that I’m just wasting the space I’m standing in because I really can’t see the parade anyway. That societal biggotry (for lack of a better term), I know is very real. I too have had decent success in life, but I feel like it was because I forced the situations that allowed my success, rather than being recocnized for my abilities. I do think that is a genuine form of biggotry. (Sorry Martin).
Any way I am pleased that you offer a place to speak openly about a topic that still too often pre-occupies my mind. Thank you, Alan.

mwidlake - May 17, 2015

Hi Alan,

Thanks for the comment.

I agree with you, it is a form of bigotry – and that is why I wrote my piece. I find a lot of people are mildly heightist without noticing and some can’t understand it when it is mentioned. A direct challenge when it occurs, I’ve found, rarely helps. Getting angry even less so! However, I’ve found that in some (not all) situations humour helps. As I say in the piece, I try to use non-aggressive or non-clown humour. I do at times feel I’ve had to work hard to be accepted or heard, but thankfully less so in my chosen career as a technical person.

I know what you are saying about crowds. I stopped going to music concerts as when every stands up, all I can see are backs. And anyone wanting to get from A to B in a crowd sees a dip in the sea of heads as an easy place to push through. 2 hours of people’s backs and being pushed all the time takes the edge off the experience.

But I do not feel it is at the same level as the bigotry you get against many other groups, such as gays, blacks, hispanics, women. It is rare for anyone to get nasty at me, let alone threaten violence.

Alan - August 29, 2015

Martin since I vented some on this blog I have felt better about my hieght. How have you been getting along yourself?

mwidlake - August 29, 2015

Hi Alan,

I appreciate the follow up comment. I’m glad that a bit of venting helped – it did me the world of good also. I think it is helpful to sometimes just voice the things that are bothering you (so long as they don’t become an all-consuming rage).

I’ve been good, thanks for asking. My blog is primarily technical computing and management focused and so the topic of my height was an unusual one and it was directed at an audience that had no “interest” in it. As such, I was heartened by the response I got from 99% of people. It led to a lot of interesting discussions with people I knew, especially some who I’d never met physically up to that point (and still have not – the world wide web has certainly altered how we define and interact with our communities. It’s helped me settle more into the position I have held for a long time that, whilst heightism exists and is wrong, in the great scheme of things there are worse forms of bigotry out there. I challenge it in my own way but I’ll be damned if I’ll let it define me.

If you want to chat more then feel free to drop me an email to mwidlake@ora600.org.uk.


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