Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How I Became a Freak

or "Why I Will No Longer Watch TLC"

So the other night I was supposed to be working, but instead, predictably, I got sucked into my couch, held hostage by my remote control. TLC was showing a series of special on dwarfs (little people) and then threw in a special called World's Tallest People, for contrast I assume. I have always been fascinating by these shows and the stories of people who are different that I am. I watched and I learned to love all people, no matter what size. My heart was breaking when the 16 year old who is under 3 foot says she wants to have children, but she only weighs 16 pounds and her doctor says it isn't possible. But still these shows make me feel safe, wedged between these two extremes, safe in my "normal" size.

I was particularly looking forward to the tall special. I love seeing the 8 foot tall man and the women over 7 foot. I think they're cool and I sympathize with their plights. I understand when they say it's hard to find shoes that fit (the woman who wears size 22 makes my size 11s seem practically tiny!) I think I really like to see this because compared to them, I'm normal, even small! I expected the special to explain these conditions- what causes the extreme height, how people deal with them, etc. But, to my horror, TLC began by throwing out this statistic.

Women over 6 feet make up a mere 1% of the population.
One percent? One percent, why I believe that is how a freak is defined. Yes, I realize there are some cool things to be in the top 1%: billionaires and people with perfect teeth without braces probably fit into the top 1%, But so do seriel killers and cannibals. This is of course not to equate tall people with seriel killers and cannibals. And being tall is not bad. The tallest guy in Great Britain became a TV star and I don't think Shaq minds too much. Supermodels are tall. It is a good thing, most of the time. My problem was, I didn't expect to be lumped in with the top 1%. I had no idea that the woman who is 6 '8 or the tallest living woman who is 7'6" and has to be in a wheelchair and I were in the same category. We're all in that 1%. I guess I thought there were throngs of tall women hanging out, I had no idea we were such a select few.

Apparently though, there are others out there. The program talked about social clubs for Tall People (I fit comfortably over the 5'10" minimum) so they can mingle with other tall people so they don't feel so isolated. They have a Miss Tall pageant program whose winner is supposed to be an ambassador for tall people and to teach others to respect tall people and realize they're just the same as everyone else. Now you can tell me that isn't just the slightest bit freakish.

So I will miss being "normal" and I will miss TLC. No more What Not to Wear (so helpful!) or While You Were Out (cute carpenters- but I guess thoses are a dime a dozen these days). But at least I have Discovery Health Channel where I can watch the Half Ton Man or 150 Pound Tumor and feel normal again, even if it is only for an hour.


Jo said...

Oh Kel, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

kel said...

Don't cry! It's funny! Tears mean pity and if I've learned nothing else from the TLC specials it's that we want to be treated just like everyone else.