Recently I described the existential crisis I went through upon realizing I was declaring myself to be of a certain height when in fact I was not. Much to my chagrin, I was not able to convince most people it had nothing to do with how tall I actually was but that it brought my entire perception of myself into question; what other things about myself or my world had I been seeing or understanding errantly.
But all my internally questioning came to naught as I was shortly to find out (pun fully intended) that I was in fact duped by Ms. A. I had even commented on how it could have been a prank akin to a widely known episode of My Three Sons in which the boys trick Uncle Charlie into believing he is growing by shortening all the furniture. Ha ha! Wonderful hijinks abound. But surely that sort of deceptive play doesn't occur on this side of the screen?
Why yes, dear reader, it does.
A friend was over after returning from an acupuncture learning exhibition in China and was interested in the story. After telling it, we all decided to be measured...just to see. Of the four adults, I was the only one who claimed to know (incorrectly or otherwise) how tall I was. The three girls merely shrugged claiming some approximation. Ms. A was a little surprised to see that she was in fact the shortest, but not as surprised as I was to find out that I was, in fact, 5'8" after all.
A good laugh was had by all. It's the same laugh you have with a group of well meaning, jolly acquaintances when one or more is involved in a prank by which the patsy receives a lottery ticket for a grand sum of currency. The hucksters all share in a jubilant laugh whilst the subject of the joke is faced with the unenviable task of remaining calm and trying to appreciate the humor involved in winning nothing but having mentally spent it all.
So I leave this to you to sort out. Trick or not, had I indeed lost two inches overnight, I would have been (and was) clearly distraught. But it was not the loss per se, or the idea that my manliness or idea of masculinity is some how tied to my stature because let's face it, if you're already below average, remaining below average isn't much of a hit. But consider that you lost something or something related directly to your perception of your self or the world changes - your height, the color of your eyes, how to pronounce a word, the name of your state, something you're positive is nearly immutable. How do you respond? So far everyone I talked to says they would basically shrug it off and move on. Admirable, but I feel also a bit false.
Would you shrug it off or would it force you to examine your entire outlook on existence? Would you turn inward for answers or would the new data slide off you like oil off a duck's ass?
And be honest, this is for posterity.