Originally Published: June 20, 2017 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: I am in my 60s and 6 feet 7 inches tall, and I am fed up with being approached by total strangers who ask such things as, “How tall are you?” “Did you play basketball?” “How tall is your wife?” “Your children?” And then there are the same tired jokes: “How is the weather up there?” “Let me know when it starts raining.” “How’s the air up there?” And so on.
I am not self-conscious about my height, but I know that some tall men and women are. I would not consider asking an overweight person how much she weighs or a short person how short he is and whether he is a jockey.
My mother taught me to never ask a woman her age or weight because it could offend her. But it seems society thinks that it’s OK to offend tall people.
If you don’t know me, please don’t ask about my height. — Had It Up to Here
Dear Had It: Yes, most adults wouldn’t crack jokes at a short stranger’s expense, and far fewer people think tall jokes are offensive. I think the reason for that is similar to the reason people think it’s OK to tease a thin friend about her weight but not a heavier one. People see tallness as a desirable trait. But I agree with you. It’s rude — not to mention totally unoriginal.
Sometimes a wry response — for example, “Wow, I’ve never heard that one before” — is enough. It points out to the person that he or she was being unoriginal, and it gives you the satisfaction of having stood up for yourself.
Finally, I have seen T-shirts out there that read: “Yes, I’m tall. No, I don’t play basketball. The weather up here is perfect. I’m so glad we had this conversation.” Perhaps wearing one would save you some trouble.
Dear Annie: You recently asked for tips on living life with a disability. This one is well worth printing, as it changed my life hugely. I use a walker. One day a stranger at the senior center passed by, pulled an item out of his pocket and stuck it on the handle of my walker; no words were exchanged. It was a heavy-duty S-hook. I no longer have to wrestle with getting my car keys hooked onto the basket under the walker seat. I now have a strong addition for carrying in shopping bags. I can carry more items around the house. Finally, I got smart and added one to the handle on the other side for even more carrying ability. I strongly urge that everyone with a walker get to the hardware store and purchase two of these life-changing items, which cost less than $1 each. Or buy some for those you know who use a walker. Great gift! Several times a day, I thank this man, who was legally blind and hearing-impaired himself, for reaching out. — Less Challenged
Dear Less Challenged: What a great tip. I love those handy S-hooks, and this is the handiest use of them I’ve heard yet. Thank you for sharing.
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