Get Shorty

Posted on January 7, 2013

39


Old-Lady

If you are a Boomer, you may have noticed that people your exact height are taller than you.  This phenomenon occurs when Boomers continue to believe they are the same height and weight they were when they were in high school or college or the military, and then a random occurrence forces them to be weighed and measured decades later and the new scale and height chart spews out numbers that are entirely unconscionable and possibly illegal.  The weight numbers are usually larger than is humanly possible, while the height numbers have us believe that, had this been 1939, we could have tried out for the role of a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz movie.

We aren’t here today to explain why you weigh more now than you used to.  That discussion is between you and the bag of donuts you ate yesterday.  But we can explain the height thing: The scary truth is that you are getting shorter.

Huff Post reports that the shrinking phenomenon started way back “when you were a baby baby boomer, and your doctor probably laid you down every few months and measured your height.  Then came the big day: you toddled into the doctor’s office on your own two feet and instead of lying down to be measured, you stood up. And the odds are that when the doctor jotted down your height, it seemed to suggest that you had shrunk since the last visit.”

This particular Boomer has quite enough childhood trauma stored up, thank you very much, without  remembering being concerned about her shrinking height at the age of 12 months.  But she has been concerned lately that elevator buttons are quite a bit higher than they used to be and tee shirts have now become night shirts.  She has also noted that the top of her head is now exactly as high as the top of her steering wheel and has been stopped on several occasions by traffic police who think the car is driving itself.

If you are a Boomer, you may have noticed that people your exact height are taller than you.  This phenomenon occurs when Boomers continue to believe they are the same height and weight they were when they were in high school or college or the military, and then a random occurrence forces them to be weighed and measured decades later and the new scale and height chart spews out numbers that are entirely unconscionable and possibly illegal.  The weight numbers are usually larger than is humanly possible, while the height numbers have us believe that, had this been 1939, we could have tried out for the role of a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz movie.

We aren’t here today to explain why you weigh more now than you used to.  That discussion is between you and the bag of donuts you ate yesterday.  But we can explain the height thing: The scary truth is that you are getting shorter.

According to HuffPost, starting at about age 40, people tend to lose about four-tenths of an inch of height every decade.  They describe part of it as a “Newton thing,” (our spines succumbing to gravity) which differs from a Fig Newton thing (a treat that this writer always considered more of a punishment than anything else).  As we age, the disks between the vertebrae of the spine, sometimes described as gel-like cushions, dry out and become thinner, with the result that the spine becomes compressed.

What Huff Post doesn’t explain is how this writer’s 91-year-old Aunt Gert has defied the four-tenths of an inch rule and is now 4’5”.  At 100, Aunt Gert will be able to ditch the walker and simply be carried around in someone’s pocket.

HuffPost suggests two “tricks” to being taller: Check your height in the morning, when it is at its maximum. Or ask your doctor to measure you lying down.  This is sort of like asking someone to weigh you while you are on the moon.  Or shopping in a store that has jumbo clothing that is all labeled size 0, size 1, and size 2.  The number might make you feel good, but you still can’t take yourself out onto the street.

The truth is you are probably shorter now than when you started to read this post. And, conversely, the Federal deficit is larger (at last count, well over 16 billion dollars).  You will never be able to understand the Federal deficit, much less find out who made up the number “16 billion,” which didn’t exist until a few years ago.  What you do understand is that your pants are getting too long. The good news is that it’s cheaper to buy new pants than to reduce the Federal deficit.  And beside, the Federal deficit, no matter how small or large it is, will never hide your butt.

Next up: the return of Sex and the Sixty (year old)

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