Height of the matter

Of all the handicaps, a short height is the easiest to overcome.


We have it from Napoleon, no less, that man’s biological height — actual or assumed — is a non-issue. One day, searching for a book in his library, the little corporal saw it placed on a shelf well beyond his reach. Seeing this, Marshal Moncey, who was much taller, helped the emperor out saying, “I am bigger than you, sir.” Not to be outdone, Napoleon replied, “No, Marshal, you are only taller!”
David Lloyd George, prime minister of UK during the latter part of the World War I, was all of 5’6”. Once when someone took a dig at his short stature, he said, “In Wales (Lloyd George was a Welsh), we measure a man from his chin up. You evidently measure from his chin down.”

Of all the handicaps, a short height is the easiest to overcome. It hasn’t prevented people even in sports and cinema, two fields where physical attributes count, from attaining dizzy heights. Gary Player is only 5’7” and yet won nine major golf titles. All he had to do to offset the height handicap was to make the arc of his golf swing flatter.

Talking of cinema, Tom Cruise is again 5’7” and yet rose to be a Hollywood star. Ditto with the reigning Khans of Bollywood. In fact, both Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan lose no opportunity to joke about their short stature.
Reports have gone to the extent of saying that Sarkozy’s alleged attempts to look taller are to reduce the ‘gender gap’, so to speak, between him and his wife Carla Bruni. But, hey, a man trying to measure up to a lady is a lot better than cutting the other party down to size, literally.

What if the height gap is too much? Well, you use your ingenuity. During the shooting of the movie ‘Boy on a Dolphin’ the director was in a bind. For, the film had Sophia Loren appearing opposite Alan Ladd who, at 5’5”, was more than three inches shorter than her. So, throughout the filming the leading lady was made to walk in a trench.

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