Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I just saw a segment on Oprah that discussed a surgical leg stretching procedure to make patients grow a couple inches. They get metal poles screwed into their legs that they regularly adjust to make their bones stretch. Patients typically cannot work or do normal activities for six months minimum. Some take up to a year.

One lady who wanted to undergo the procedure, along with the one year of metal poles screwed into her legs, was 5'3" and wanted to be taller.

I was jealous of her.

I've always jokingly said that my dream height is 5'3". At five foot nothing, it's seemed like the perfect height. Not too short, but not too tall either.

The device used to turn the screws and adjust the length of the bones looks almost exactly (though bigger) like the device I used to adjust my retainer when I was 14. No one questioned it.

Of course we would glue metal and wires onto our teeth to make them straighter.
Of course we'd put bleach and chemicals on our hair to make it the colour we want.
Of course we'd glue plastic to our nails to make them pretty and then layer them with paint and strip them down with solvents to take that paint off.
Of course we'd put creams and lotions on our face to make our zits go away, and then pile on skin-coloured goo to make our faces look perfect.

All of these things make us feel better about ourselves. And no one questions it. But to stretch your leg bones to be inches taller? How is that any different, really?

First of all, I guess I should say, no, I don't want to dish out $10,000 to $40,000 just for a couple inches. But, I also don't want anyone to say "oh well, you can just wear heels."
Why do I have to wear heels? The very fact that people would say that is the reason why bone stretching sounds borderline appealing.

Since I was about fifteen, I was jealous of normal sized people. I didn’t even want to be tall, just tall enough that people would stop saying “wow, you’re really short.”

It would be nice not to have people ask me how old I am, and then look at me like I’m lying to them. Or, to have people stop asking what grade I’m in and then hear them backpedal when I tell them I’m four years into university. Guess what? I don’t care that in 20 years I’ll feel honoured that people still I.D. me. In 20 years, maybe my face will be so wrinkled that they won’t have to. They’re not looking at my face when they wonder how close I am to high school graduation. They’re thinking about my height.

And then there’s the issue of my career. I’m in university to become a high school teacher. I’ve actually had people laugh at me when I tell them that. I’m not going to change what I want to be just because I’m short. If most high school students are going to be taller than me, I guess that means the entire world will be taller than me too. I guess, then, it doesn’t matter what I choose to be, everyone will still be taller that me at that job too.

So, the leg stretching thing comes back to my mind. To look professional, all normal sized people have to do it put on a business suit or a nice shirt. Maybe carry a briefcase. Even in my most professional looking outfit, I’d still be five feet. And from my own experience, it means I don’t get taken seriously. Maybe I should spend a year getting my leg bones stretched out.
Then again, maybe not.