Being tall can be hazardous

A trait I normally take pride in, my height, can also be a hazard. As my 6’5″ frame sits here typing, I have a bruised forehead. Why, you ask? As I filled a bucket with water and gingerly watched my footing as I walked from the hose, I ran smack into a ceramic bird house hanging from a tree limb. The impact was like a quick jab from a boxer. Ouch.

One of my tall sons was visiting, so I told him he almost found me lying on the grass, although I just staggered when I ran into the gosh darn thing. He reminded me of one of his college visits which found most of our family in an Italian restaurant in Poughkeepsie on a very rainy night. As we were leaving, both he and I hit our heads on the sloping ceiling near the door. At 6’3″, he also has to watch his head.

Which led to the telling of another story about one of the visits my wife and I had to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC (a must see). On this visit, we stayed in the older section of the hotel riding the elevator up in a stone shaft. As we checked into the room, my wife motioned me over to the window to see the view. Well, the ceiling sloped toward the window, so when I walked over to look down, boom, another headache.

But, I was not done with that room. It had a step up into the bathroom. So, as I stepped down to get back in the bedroom, boom, another headache. Surprisingly, I did not leave with a concussion. Just a sore head and a smiling wife at her husband’s survival of head injuries.

However, the worst crash occurred while I went to college in downtown Atlanta. Walking in an above ground garage into a setting sun, I walked straight into a diagonal I-beam as I neared my car. It caught me right across the forehead. I staggered backwards as if Muhammad Ali had just stung me like a bee. I did not fall down, but it would not have been a surprise if I did.

So, being tall is nice, but it does have some hazards. As my wife would say, thank goodness I am hard-headed.

Tall people have to watch high and low to avoid painfully funny happenings

I have shared before that I am 6’5″ tall, so I have carried nicknames like “Tree,” “Stick,” “Wilt” and “High Pockets” on occasion. Being tall is nice, but there are moments when you would prefer being a little more diminutive. Those are the occasions when you bump your head or step on something. The latter usually occurs when you pay attention to higher obstacles and, of course, the converse is true when looking out for low ones.

One of my more painful moments occurred in college when I was walking in a downtown garage near sunset. The sun blinded me enough that I walked right into an I-Beam that cracked me across my forehead and literally staggered me like a well-punched fighter. Fortunately, no one saw me, but if I had gone down, there would have been no one to help either.

Then, there was the time we visited the older portion of the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Unfortunately, the ceiling slopes near the windows, so when my wife beckoned me to see something below, I walked over and cold-cocked myself on the ceiling. Later that day, I had become wary that the bathroom entrance had a modest step up. So, watching my footwork closely, I banged the same old head into the upper door frame.

Being parent of three children, who are older now but were fond of Lego’s when younger, you learn a painful lesson about the Lego blocks. They hurt like hell when you step on one with a bare foot. Usually, you watch ahead when you walk, so I have missed seeing the stray Lego on multiple occasions. Ouch!

Also, at home, I am the one that can reach up to get things, but I am the same one that cannot see what is on a lower shelf in the refrigerator. I will ask my wife where something is and she will walk over and get it from the shelf I could not fully see. She has become used to it. She is the same person who tells people I drive “an easy chair” as I put the seat way back.

At work, we created these glass offices for a couple of folks who had confidential discussions. I had a colleague who is 6’9″ who walked directly into the upper door frame, which was lower than the average door. Not to be outdone, a few months later, I walked through the same door, but stood on my toes to see if the occupant was on the phone. In so doing, I elevated my four-inch shorter frame and hit the bottom of the same upper door frame. Ouch again!

Finally, this may be more from growing up in Florida, but as a tall person, snow skiing is quite funny for others to watch when I do it, or attempt to do it. A falling tree comes to mind. I am a firm believer that skiing instructors should first ask you to lay on the ground with your skis and get up. As that is what we new comers will be doing a lot of. Timber!

I have always loved being tall. It has allowed me many liberties – not getting carded when younger, being easier to spot or spot someone else, giving me a shot to play on the high school basketball team, giving me a little more presence when I had not earned it, etc. It comes with challenge of more lower back pain, neck and shoulder injuries and other ailments. It also comes with some comical moments. And, always remember the following irrespective of your height. Laugh at yourself and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.