Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Shrinking Man....

"It's a matter of routine," says my doctor while she measures my height. Then she says, "Five-feet, ten inches."
"Hold your horses; stop the music," I protest. "I was five-feet-eleven and some change when I graduated from high school." I remember quite clearly because, on the rare occasion when the situation called for a young man's boasting, I used to throw my shoulders back, stand up real tall, and round-up to six feet.
She says, matter-of-factly, "These things happen; we shrink as we get older."

I ask when her measuring gizmo was last calibrated, and question whether her medical school provided the latest height-measuring techniques, or was that one of those seminars she skipped during the summer she followed the Grateful Dead. At my request, after some unnecessary, but noticeable, eye-rolling, she double checks her measurement and comes up with five-feet-nine and seven eighths. So I ask if we couldn't round-up to her original figure, five-feet-ten. "Let's go with that," I say, "It's even, and fractions are for complaining nit-pickers."

Then she hands me a cup, points to Mr. happy, and says, "Fill it halfway, big guy," putting emphasis on "big guy." Just for the not-so-subtle mocking placation, which contained implications beyond medical propriety, I fill it almost to the brim, the same amount of pee I estimate would flow from a healthy six-footer. I throw my shoulders back, walk real tall, and very carefully, with a slight swagger and a renewed sense of pride, return the bountiful cup.

I'm not certain what, exactly, she writes in her notes, but I think of calling my insurance company and ask if they wouldn't mind springing for a second opinion regarding this medically significant matter. Perhaps they could recommend a non-flippant height specialist who enjoyed the less-distractible sounds of England Dan and John Ford Coley during medical school. A nose to the grindstone seems to be an increasingly rare attribute these days.

On the way home, all I can think of is that if this shrinking thing continues, how long will it be before I'm living, lost and unnoticed, in a corner of the basement, battling a spider for some tiny crumbs of cake. Maybe I should buy a set of tiny doll furniture, complete with quilts, a tiny sink, and tiny toilet, and place the whole shebang in a strategic place in the house where no one walks. I'll rope off the area and give it a name like "Poco Valle," and before it's too late, get everyone accustomed to walking a wide circle around it. One thing I'm doing for sure is stopping at the hardware store and buying a handful of signs that offer the cautionary future reminder, "Watch Your Step."