“Don’t want no short people … don’t want no short people, ’round me”
When Randy Newman released this song, he was vilified. How dare he be so insensitive … so politically incorrect?? Radio stations banned the song, state legislatures tried to pass legislation against it. He was accused of discriminating against short people … it almost ruined his career. Come on, folks, it’s only a song, and a pretty funny one at that. Get a grip! Where’s your sense of humor? When I first heard this song, back in the day, I had a particularly difficult client who happened to be short … he was about my size – 5′-4″ on tippy toes. I think his shortness had nothing whatsoever to do with my difficulty to engage with him, still I heard this song, and I thought, “Yeah, that’s George.” I liked it! Not meaning to offend anyone, but I am older now, I’m not politically correct, and I have lost two of my three children. Thinking I may have earned the right to say whatever I want! Besides, it’s the perfect song for my post tonight … so enough of that …
When Jeff and Brian started talking, they spoke in full sentences with incredibly correct grammar. Their older brother, Allyn, made sure of that. I wanted “baby talk”, but instead I got, “Mommy, do you think it will rain today?” Or, “Mommy, what are we going to do today?”
So, one day when Jeff was about 4, he and I went to the video store to find a movie for him and his little brother, Brian. We were engaged in deep discussion about which movie to rent, when a man came around the aisle. He looked at Jeff, then looked at me and said, “Is he a midget?” We spoke a few minutes … he was amazed by Jeff’s command of language. He left, Jeffrey and I rented our video and headed home. Jeffrey never asked me about “midgets”, but I could see he was thinking. We talked very briefly about being short. But, his mind was working … I knew he wanted to ask, “Mommy, am I a midget??” He didn’t, but for the next several weeks, when we would go to the drugstore, the grocery store, or anywhere, and someone would tell him hello … oh wait, Jeff was a beautiful little red haired boy and people always wanted to talk to him … the first words out of his mouth were, “Hello, I’m NOT a midget.” Everyone would just stare, but he was so cute, it didn’t matter.
As the boys grew, Jeffrey was always taller than his little brother Brian. They are only 16 months apart in age, still Jeff shot up like a bean sprout. Brian was a slow grower … beautiful, but pudgy and short. Jeffrey always called his brother “Shorty” … I would say, “Just wait, Jeffrey, one day he will be a whole lot taller and bigger than you … then you won’t call him ‘Shorty'”. Took until Brian reached the age of 15 or so, but he outgrew his brother by leaps and bounds!
And when the guys reached the soaring heights – 6′-1″ for Jeff and 6’-3″ for Brian – they would delight in standing over me and saying, “MOM, you’re short!” I would just smile and say, “Yeah … and you’re tall.” How I miss that … how I miss them.
But here’s the thing … Leukemia and Blood Cancers strike indiscriminately… no height, no age, no weight and no ethnicity is immune to the horrors of these diseases. It isn’t hereditary and while there may be risk factors, those who are exposed to the risks may never get these diseases, and those who are never exposed to the risks, might. Every four minutes of every day, there is a new diagnosis. Every ten minutes of every day, someone is lost. Progress has been made in the search for a cure, but there is much work yet to be done. Will you help??