Invisible Stranger


Invisible Stranger

Collecting Crises on Old Compton Street and Beyond

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Little Tinker

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Monday, February 02, 2004
Munchkinland
I am notoriously bad at estimating numbers, or weights or distances, in fact, quantities of any kind. I can't tell you how long is a mile, or a piece of string, and don't expect me to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar. I don't know whether I'm lifting pounds or kilograms down at the gym, and frankly don't give a toss how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

For so many years that I've lost count, I've thought my height was roughly five feet ten (and a bit) inches. It's what I write down on official forms, and it's even on my passport, so it must be true. It’s a nice, non-threatening and respectable height to be for a man: you're not too tall that you can’t get decent clothes to fit, and you're not so small that children kick sand in your face and call you Rugrat.

Last night, in preparation for a new gym routine, I measured myself up against the wall with a tape measure. The results were so upsetting that it took me three and a half Stellas down the road just to get over the shock.

Five-ten? Either I've started to shrink in early middle age, or I've been kidding myself and immigration for yonks. I straightened my back, thinking it might be my posture, all those years carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders finally taking their toll. The same, tiny, stunted, minuscule result. I even checked the wall to see if it was level. It was, and considerably more so than my head was by this point.

So then I did something I rarely do, and faced the facts: no-one will ever look up to me, or describe me as a tall, handsome Stranger, and let's face it, I haven't a hope in hell of being considered for the basketball team. For I am now officially a Shortass

I know I might have been a little depressed recently, but losing a couple of inches like this is ridiculous. But apart from wearing high heels, or having my body stretched on a rack (and I do know of certain people in South London who will oblige), it looks as I will have to start learning to live with my newly-found diminutive stature. And no, telling me I'm one full inch taller than Tom Cruise doesn't help in the slightest, thank you very much.