Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Joke

As my classmates line up to the door, I’m again the last to join them. I shift from one foot to the other as one of the classmates in front of me peers down. His eyebrows furrow as if some philosophical thought has appeared to him. He ponders for a moment before tapping his friend’s shoulder.

“Hey, look! She’s so short, she could parachute off a dime!” He so kindly announced to me and his friend as if it wasn’t apparent enough. “So how tall are you really?” he asked as his snorting laughter died down.

“I’m four-nine.” I smile softly at the boy keeping my opinion of his intelligence to myself.
Yes, I’m short. I’ve even been told I’m legally a midget thanks to the all knowing wise-cracks that I’ve met various times. I laugh as these significant few believe they are the original tellers of these jokes. Of course, I haven’t heard that exact same joke from my friends, my coworkers, or even that girl who thinks she’s just a tad bit taller than me. Of course, I don’t feel like I’m being made fun of for their need of daily attention. Of course, it doesn’t bother me because I’m just standing here smiling with them. After all, everyone loves being the expense of a joke, and they especially love being in that humiliating spotlight.

Then there’s the guy who thinks he can sympathize. He decides one day to bend down to my height and say “Hey! Now we’re even!”

No. No we are not. I am standing up with my perfect American posture, and he is crouching like a man with constipation over a toilet. This “kind” act of chivalry does not make me feel better. Unknowingly, this boy has just made me into another joke by emphasizing my difference in the world.

Being short was never something I chose. It was genetics and heredity that contributed to my small frame, yet everyday this is what makes for someone’s daily entertainment. I’m literally looked down upon, and turned into the next five minutes worth of amusement. With no thought of how I might be affected, these jokes continue. If I get mad, the comedians wonder why. It was just a joke after all. No harm done. No need to get all “defensive”.

I realize that when someone sees an opportunity to make themselves feel better by laughing at someone else’s expense, they’re going to take it. They forget that they might be making some sort of mistake. That this person might just happen to snap. They forget the dangers that harassment has on someone’s self-esteem; that this “joke” might just shove someone into their own small darkness. They forget how to think before they speak.

So Mr. five-foot-eleven, next time you look down and decide that the world needs to discover my height as you did, think. Because here’s a secret... the world already knows. You were just the last to find out.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback