Last night during dinner my Little Rib informed me nonsensitively: »Your legs are too short.«
I couldn’t get the fork out of my mouth fast enough. »Excuse me?«
»Your legs are too short.«
»What makes you think that?«
»I have eyes. I noticed it the first time I saw you.«
»Oh really? It didn’t catch my eyes the first time I saw me.«
»I’m not surprised. You wouldn’t notice if you grew a second nose.«
»Maybe. But why bring it up now?«
»Dunno. It fit the topic.«
»We were talking about spaghetti!«
»Right. That’s why I thought about it.«
I guess I should have been more forceful requesting more info but I was in shock. My legs are too short? How is that possible? For 37 years I have been walking around thinking of my legs as very sexy. What a disaster!
To be honest I’m not very good at detecting flaws on my body. The ones I’m aware of have been pointed out to me by others. In swimming class at school a girl almost drowned when she discovered hair on my toes while I was standing close to the pool’s edge. Another girl in the school yard pointed with both index fingers at me and screamed: »Meyn has hair on his nose! You have to take a look at this!« People gathered around me and examined my nose closely. Right after school I hurried home to check my nose in the mirror. Indeed, there were little hairs. Everywhere! It looked ridiculous. Only people blinded by their own beauty would be able to ignore something as obvious as this.
Thanks to my dad’s razor I got rid of the unwanted hair. After a quick all-round check I felt like a new person. With strong self-confidence –and much too short legs, as I know now– I entered the class room the next day, sat down at my desk and was terrified when the guy next to me announced in an unpleasant and loud voice: »Meyn has hair on his ears! Hey, Meyn has hair on his ears! Hey!!!«
Yes, I could write long essays about my body hair. For example, a friend explained to me that everybody has two eyebrows, not just one. I nodded and agreed with her, without really knowing what she was getting at. She offered to transform my very long and fluffy forehead-mustache into two trendy and well groomed eyebrows. Again I nodded, this time a little embarrassed.
Besides my chest there is one little spot on my body with no hair at all. It’s right under my chin. My beard doesn’t want to grow there for some weird reason. I’ve been inspecting the bald spot for a long time now and I think I have detected a little growth after all. I figure the gap will be closed in 10 to 15 years.
Speaking of chins. Mine is crooked. Someone who didn’t like me very much told me a long time ago. Since then I’ve been stroking my chin with my left hand all the time, as if I were in deep thought. Unfortunately I never remember to do that when people take pictures of me because I’m too busy sucking in my belly.
»Very short?« I asked anxiously.
»What?« After successfully destroying one existence my Little Rib apparently was planning the next one already.
»My legs. Are they very short or just a little bit?«
»It’s not too bad.«
»It’s not too bad?! How many inches am I missing?«
»Well, I’d say four, at least.«
Oh Lord! Four inches. I need to be 6'4« tall in order to look like a normal human being and not like a mutant. How can I possibly compensate for that? Can you buy four-inch soles for shoes? But that wouldn’t take away from the fact that my legs are too short, it would just make my feet look very high. Do legs appear longer when you shave them or is there no difference? Can I take the risk of wearing shorts ever again?
»Maybe it’s just an optical illusion because my upper body is too long?«
»Yes, your upper body is too long.«
»There! Wait … what do you mean?«
»Because of your long upper body your legs seem too short.«
»Well, what is it? Are my legs too short or is my upper body too long?« Does that actually mean that I should only be 5’ 8« tall?
»How should I know? It doesn’t matter.«
»It sure does! What am I supposed to reply to people when they make fun of my short legs? Yes, you are right, or no, you’re mistaken, my upper body is too long?«
»That’s what you think. But I need to have good counter-arguments.«
»There is no counter-argument for short legs.«
»Yes, there is! A longer upper body.«
»Ok, if it makes you feel better ... So you want spaghetti tomorrow?«
»Pasta and shrimp?«
»Don’t you dare!«