by Kevin Elpenor
The UK Kernel came out last month claiming that being tall isn’t as easy as it seems. And while I would wholeheartedly agree with this statement, I would say that those who are simply tall have it a lot easier than a certain group of others. Being tall is certainly a hurdle to overcome, but what about those who have two, three, or even four hurdles to jump over? Don’t get me wrong. Being taller than average absolutely sucks. Everyone assumes you must be good at basketball. You have to bend your knees a little to comfortably talk with your friends at eye-level. Your proximity to the Sun means that it hits you with that much extra oomph on the walk to class. And of course, you have to deal with the heightism. But imagine having to deal with other -isms as well. What if you had to deal with heightism, racism, sexism, and classism all at the same time? That’s right. Welcome to the world of being a tall, rich, white male.
There is not one day on the walk to class during which I don’t notice the people around me blatantly judging me. I get more sideways glances than I do friendly nods, and many more eye-rolls and scoffs than I do sideways glances. And if you think that’s bad, I get more blank stares than I get sideways glances, friendly nods, eye-rolls, and scoffs combined. And for what? What am I doing wrong? Is it my fault that I was born into a well-off family, into the majority populace, into the gender that gets most of the societal advantages? Did I make this choice? Absolutely not. In fact, if I had a choice, I would have chosen to be born into a middle-class Pacific-Islander family. I’d still choose to be a guy, but that’s just because I enjoy the freedom of being able to play around with my balls once in awhile; absolutely not because guys have it easier than girls.
Let’s analyze the situation. What happens if a girl hits a guy? He deserved it. He probably insulted her or told a dirty joke or something. What happens if a guy hits a girl? Physical assault! Jail! Might she have set his faithful companion of a dog on fire? It’s a possibility. But you know what? Inexcusable. Guys can’t hit girls, no matter what. And what happens if a girl has sexual relations with a lot of guys? Everyone judges her to be one of those girls that gets around a lot. What happens if a guy has sex with lots of girls? He’s a player! He’s got game! How is that fair? How am I expected to change my immoral womanizing ways when everyone is reinforcing my promiscuity? I’ll tell you how: it won’t happen. That’s how. I’ll enjoy a healthy sexual life well into my 30’s before slowing down and considering maybe it’s time for me to settle down. How am I to enjoy a productive lifestyle or make my way up the career ladder without a having woman constantly standing by my side making sure my clothes are well-kept, my food is well-made and such? All my married friends will have a competitive advantage over me at work. I might even have to pull a few strings with my well-connected uncle to level the playing field. And you know I’d hate to do that. Uncle Greg always wants to make small talk when I start talking business to him. It’s embarrassing. I’d rather not deal with it. But with all the sexism overtaking society nowadays, I might just be forced into it.
And how about being rich? Wow. Could there be a greater disadvantage to a human being born into modern American society? No empathy. From anyone. At. All. Let’s say I sprain an ankle during a round of golf. Does anyone care? Nope. “Don’t worry about it Kevin; your insurance will take care of it.” “Hey; I know people who have broken their ankles; you’re lucky it’s not that bad.” “Just take a couple of weeks off and everything will be okay.” Does anyone ask me how I feel? Does anyone take the time to ask whether I need another dirty martini? Does anyone consider the fact that this is the first time this month I’ve gone 3-under on the front 9? Nope. Nope. Nope. My uncle Greg told me one time after I got a scratch on my face during a backpacking trip through the Alps: “Hey. You’re lucky. Think about all those people who can’t afford to take part in an adventure like this.” Adventure? Please. They’re the lucky ones: they’re the ones who don’t have to deal with scathing branches, uneven paths, buzzing flies, a bunch of random languages no one understands, and a 40-pound backpack. Yes, we hired guides and additional helpers to help carry our tents and photography equipment around, but that’s still 40 pounds of weight on my back. Basically all the time. Worth it? Absolutely not. I’ll trade you for your X-Box controller and your bag of chips any day. So what advantages do I get for the drawbacks of being looked down upon as a privileged prep by everyone? Being forced into “experiences” like that? No thank you. I’ll take the ability to order a McDouble anytime I want over the “breathtaking beauty” of a mountain range any day. That’s what Google Images are for. I could find that breathtaking beauty at the public library if I really wanted.
I won’t even go into the troubles of being white too much because of just how obvious they are. More prone to sunburn. Worse abs. Worse dressing ability. Worse dancing ability. Worse athletic ability. Worse rapping ability. Never, ever, ever allowed to say “homie” to anyone. The list goes on and on.
So the next time you’re sitting at home looking into the mirror thinking about how you wish you were a few inches shorter, think about my situation. You can sit down in a desk and basically look about average; I live with my plethora of undesirable characteristics every moment of every day. My message to you is this, Kernel: being tall is bad, but it could be worse. Much worse.