As all of you know—likely because you have run into me, literally, while walking past me on a sidewalk and then stared up at me from your phone dazed, as if your body colliding with mine was something that just couldn’t have been avoided—I am a very large fella. In fact, if I am being honest with myself, then I am also forced to acknowledge that my size is probably my defining characteristic. And I am usually alright with that. After all, there are perks that come with uncommon size. I can always see at concerts. People instinctively give me the front seat in ubers. On occasion kids ask me if I play in the NFL or NBA, and sometimes I lie and say yes, just so they can feel cool telling their friends they saw a pro athlete buying an ungodly amount of $5 footlongs at their local Subway and not because saying no makes feel undeniably sad.
Sometimes I ask myself, how can that still be the case in the year 2018? And the short answer is, I don’t know. But one thing I do know for certain is that it is time for it to stop. It’s time for us to start treating all men and women of our nation as equals, regardless of their physical capacity. It’s time that we make everyday life more welcoming and accessible to everyone, no matter how immense their body may be. It is time for us all, as a society, to stop discriminating against the big and tall.
How do we do that? One small step at a time…
How Society Can Stop Discriminating Against Substantial People
1) Start respecting legroom on transportation devices-Any person who, while sitting in front of someone 6-1 or taller, reclines their chair on a domestic flight is committing a crime on par with human trafficking, and deserves to be punished in such a manner. From now on shorties, before you recline your chair on an airplane, take a glance to your rear to see how substantially the person behind you is filling out their seat. Or how about this: just don’t recline your chair on an airplane at all. Stop being selfish. Treat everyone’s legroom, tall and short, with the respect it deserves. After all, very few people would like to spend their flight to Omaha with your headrest on or around their crotch. Unless you are a Hemsworth brother. Then, while you should still ask for permission, most people will probably be down with you putting your seat wherever you want.
2) Make bigger clothes-I own dozens of shirts, every single one of which is size XXL or bigger, a fact which makes it all the more surprising that they all also lacks the fabric necessary to completely cover my belly from exposure. Now to be fair, some of these shirts do a decent enough job, only displaying my bare abdomen when I lift my hands over my head in order to celebrate something important, like when I discovered Burger King was bringing back their chicken fries. But others fail to fit my admittedly colossal torso in almost every situation, riding short when I am performing the most basic of human activities, i.e. sitting still and not moving. This could be my own fault, I am not good at “laundry,” but instead I will choose to blame society. Starting make shirts that cover my body no matter ya jerks!
3) Get rid of weight limits-Things I’ve been too heavy to do throughout the course of my life: play football with kids my own age prior to my 13th birthday. Ride a segway. Go ziplining during a trip to a mountain town in upstate New York. Enter an elevator with more than 7 other people on it. Sleep more than 1 night in the premie nursery, even though the fluid that was present in my lungs at birth was only 99.99% ejected from my body 24 hours into my existence. You get the picture. My size has prevented me from doing all kinds of stuff that I, in an ideal world, would have the inalienable right to do. Tell me you think this was the kind of existence Thomas Jefferson was thinking of when he wrote that “All men were created equal.” Because it isn’t. He was thinking of something far more racist.
4) Stop eating us first when cannibalism becomes the only option-If I am ever on a plane that crashes into a mountain, or a lifeboat lost at sea, I know that sooner or later all eyes will be trained on me. And not because people will be looking for me to help find a solution to our quandary, I am an awful problem solver in normal circumstances, even worse in a crisis. No, people will be staring at me because food has become scarce and they are rapidly becoming hungry enough to both kill and eat a voluminous human being with an even more voluminous heart. Just because I can provide the most sustenance doesn’t mean I should be the initial one consumed. It just means I’ll be less satiated than everyone else when we eat the smallest person first, because they have far less fat on them and therefore offer a far greater nutritional value.
5) Remember that massive people have feelings too-What has this post consisted of if not the sullen wails of a modern-day giant looking for respect and acceptance in a cruel, capricious world? Nothing that’s what. This very blog is in many ways a manifesto on what it is like to carry around a cornucopia of hidden emotions inside a monstrous frame. And those emotions are carried around because we live in a society wherein our broadest and most soaring citizens are expected to be rough and tumble, only allowed to soften and let out our inner teddy bear when we’re around small children or working out at a Planet Fitness, where we have to put on an act in order to avoid being guilty of gymtimidation (#humblebrag. #RIPHarris).
But what if I wanna be a teddy bear all the time? What if I am often weak and vulnerable and overly sentimental? The entire purpose of the words I’ve written here is to get our culture to stop determining who a big and tall person truly is using only our big and tallness. The entire purpose of the words I’ve written here is to finally set the most brobdingnagian members of our society free. As I said earlier, it’s 2018. By now we’ve come far enough to know, that even behemoths have feelings. By now our civilization should be at a point where even the most colossal among us can show the world their pain.