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My 36-inch inseam

Brandon Keelean | Tuesday, September 4, 2012

So I’m tall. I always have been. From kindergarten through second grade and from fourth grade on I was the tallest person in my class. In third grade I was bested by Jenna Hornsby who, due to the early onset of puberty in women, grew a lot that year. You might think, dear reader, that my proclamation that I was the tallest is a sign that I view my height as only positive. Not so.

Being tall sucks … a lot of the time. Like when you have to buy jeans. Unless you go to JCPenney and buy the folded Arizona Jeans on the back wall, you are not going to find anything with a 36-inch inseam inside of a store. You might think that “Big and Tall” stores would be the solution, but let me tell you, “and” is the operative word in “Big and Tall.” Big OR tall does not exist.

I am also convinced the modular dorm furniture was designed by a short person. Granted the space created by a lofted bed is not ideal for a person of any height, but when I try to stand below it, I literally become the hunchback of Notre Dame.

When you are tall, people always assume that you are, could be, or were a basketball player.

If I could make a request on behalf of uncoordinated tall people everywhere, I would ask you never again to assume someone is good at basketball because they are tall in stature. As my Observer colleagues witnessed during Bookstore Basketball last spring, this could not be further from the truth in my case.

Being tall inherently creates awkward situations. Standing 6’5″ at a high school dance makes it hard not to stand out in the crowd. Though not always a problem, it can make my white boy dance moves unnecessarily apparent. I would rather dance without feeling like all eyes are on me.

Being tall during childhood is also challenging. I grew continuously throughout my life rather than in spurts like many people, so when I would play hide-and-seek as a child finding a hiding spot was nearly impossible. Most of the children could fit into small cupboards, under laundry baskets or behind bookshelves. My lanky frame could barely hide behind the couch.

On the bright side, I have yet to meet a woman taller than I am, even in heels.

I could ride all of the coasters at Cedar Point at the age of 9. I am more likely to hold a leadership role. And my risk of developing a short-person complex is slim-to-none.

If you’re waiting for some sort of resolution, there isn’t one. I don’t have any solutions to the challenges being tall creates, and I understand that a large portion of the population wishes they were taller. I leave you with the thought that not everything is as great as it looks from the outside. Please remember that the next time you want to ask a tall guy if he plays basketball.