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Short story

Aline.WeillerI stand a mere 5' 2." This, I'm reminded of daily. Last week, three people offered assistance as I struggled to hoist my luggage onto the overhead rack on the train. My kitchen cabinets house items I can't even pretend to grasp, prompting pleas to my teenage boys. My house has step stools in every closet, the garage and kitchen; they are my gateway to both garden gloves and granola.

Grocery shopping is the ultimate challenge - I'm forever on the hunt for tall passersby of the Good Samaritan ilk to grab organic ketchup, shelved beyond my reach. And I regret to admit, I still step on bottom racks for a boost, though I've been reprimanded ad nauseam.

But there are more small girl problems. General admission seating at concerts is taxing, at best. In family pictures, I'm the sole adult lining the front row with nephews and nieces. Movie theaters pose seeing the screen obstructed by the head of an average-sized adult. My car's sun shades barely block rays and adjusting shower heads demands Olympic prowess. Not to dismiss the ultimate bummer - people use my head as a banister. Yes, being small has forced me to "McGuyver" my way to solutions, like the famed secret agent from this '80s action-adventure television series.

Additionally, I was understandably mortified when my younger sister surpassed me by three inches in middle school. When I questioned this phenomenon, my mother tried to console me, saying I'd be as tall as both grandmothers, who had, incidentally, already began their literal descent into old age.

Lately, though, I've embraced my height as a gift, and have reframed it to celebrate its perks. Children like me - I'm little, like a fun-size Snickers. I can nap on the couch, no problem. Heels are always an option, and in sneakers, I can negotiate crowds with fleeted finesse. Long-legged people are forever grateful when I take the backseat or give them the aisle on planes: I'm portable. I've gotten carded way past the appropriate window. Petite clothes don't require costly alterations, and I'm name tag level at reunions, when classmates remain stumped, searching memory banks for lost identities. I can even wear kids' Uggs and get called cute a lot.

And other good news - I sport a big personality in a small package, and consider myself concentrated, not less than.

- Aline Weiller

Aline Weiller's essays have been featured on the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop blog, Brain, Child Magazine, Scary Mommy, Your Teen and Skirt, among others. She's also the CEO/Founder of Wordsmith, LLC - a public relations firm based in Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Follow her on Twitter @AlineCWeiller.

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