There are two words in the English language that -- if combined -- irritate me beyond belief.
I'm short, not vertically challenged. Don't you forget it.
To say that someone is "vertically challenged" implies that the individual in question has a physical trait that inhibits day-to-day life. While I must applaud whoever it is that coined the politically correct terminology, I find myself pleading for people to stop using it at once.
Short people are not disadvantaged due to height. Now you know.
I don't mind being closer to the ground most folks. My day is full of aerodynamic stunts in between strangers on the subway and pleasant strolls under foliage danging from trees above head. The one instance my height does bother me is when it rains and I have to use an umbrella.
Think about it. You're of an average height and weight and on your way to work when all of a sudden ...
You feel a pain on your side by your rib cage.
Where did that pesky punch come from? Low and behold, a short person holding up an umbrella.
I'd like to take this time to apologize to any average sized and tall people I've unintentionally pissed off due to my umbrella roughing up their respective sides. It was never my intent to whack you in the ribs with a silver prodding device. In fact, the situation is quite the contrary.
Here's a message for the sidewalk commuter: I do not want to poke you. I do not want to prod you. I do not want to hurt you. I just want to walk. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you in the past, I'll try not to get in your way during future days.
With that said, D.C. folks do not know how to handle the rain (or any inclement weather for that matter). I could blame it on my Midwestern roots but I'd rather blame the incompetent citizens that occupy this city and the surrounding metropolitan area for calling in the National Guard for a few measly inches of precipitation(Point of Clarification: This is a metaphor of course, D.C. doesn't actually send in the National Guard for rain or light snow.)
One friend of mine believes that on days like this, you should get a prize just for showing up at work on what she's deemed to be "crappy weather days". I agree. A door prize would be nice -- especially if you have to walk around all day hanging your head in defeat due to the overwhelming guilt leftover from side-checking a tall person with your umbrella all morning.
My height was never an issue. To be honest, I forget that I'm not as tall as the rest of my friends or the world at-large. I might not know what it feels like to look over people's heads on a consistent basis, but I do know that showing up at concerts early due to height-related vision obstructions can result in not only a front row view but autographs after the show (thank you Linkin Park via 2000 for that one).
Short people get a bad rap. Stereotypes have us labeled as somewhat self-deprecating or a punchline to a dirty joke. Let me clarify: short people are in no way like the fine folks featured in MGM's silver screen classic "The Wizard of Oz". We're not cutesy, ballet-dancing, lollipop guild workers singing to a ruby shoe wearing, pig-tailed donning girl from Kansas. We're your average, everyday person with likes, dislikes, and troubles. We're simply looking to make our way in this world the best we know how.
Rainy days might make me angry but nothing turns that cloud from gray to sunny blue like Huey Lewis & The News singing "Power of Love". I'll tell ya -- when that came on my iPod shuffle this morning at the bus stop, the sun behind the clouds never looked brighter and Michael J. Fox never looked better skate boarding to school holding on for dear life behind a pick-up truck.