You might bump into me at your local mall, grocery store, or disco and instantly discover the one thing that makes me naturally different from most. I don’t have Leonardo DeCaprio’s Hollywood looks nor do I have the presence of a Michael Jackson. I do constantly make heads turn, get the uncomfortable stares and receive frequent questions. I suppose you can say I literally stand above the rest. I currently measure 6’9 and weigh in at 245 pounds (2.06 m & 111 kg for everyone that doesn’t live in the US). With the average height around the world coming in at under 6 feet, I guess you can say I’m a giant. While you think I’m tall, imagine standing next to the tallest man that ever lived, Robert Wadlow. Wadlow was 7’1 at 11 years old and passed away at 22 growing an amazing 8’11. So you think I’m tall?
Tall people seem to have a comical nature about them. I think because we stand out, we are forced to wear our personality on our sleeve. I was voted Class Clown of my high school, an achievement I was happy to earn, even more so then any basketball award. I’m still the goofy guy I’ve always been. Being older and around other taller people, I can see that they enjoy their height also (Except for the ones over seven feet tall, that doesn’t look fun). I guess when you are asked the same question everyday, “Damn man, how tall are you?” you develop a habit of mocking your own self for others amusement. I know when I walk in the mall or in any public place I can be seen from the opposite end. Then when people actually get closer and pass me by, they instantly want to inquire about my height. Especially in Europe where a tall man with tattoos is strange and a rarity. I know I’m stared at, so I wear sunglasses most of the time to watch the wandering eyes of strangers. The heads turning couldn’t be more hilarious to me then when I’m walking with my girl. Towering a whole foot and a half over her, the eyes seem to look at her, then me, then the upper half of me, then us as a whole, and maybe back to my upper half. Until photos are taken of us do I really realize that I’m almost double her in size. I’ve just become so accustomed to my height that I feel just like anybody else, a simple human being. There’s something great about smothering a women with a giant hug and engulfing her in your arms. To each their own! I guess I’ll always be amazed at the unintentional stir I create at a party or restaurant when I walk in. Now that my body is covered in ink and tattoos, I can see why the word, “Freak” might cross people’s minds. Not to worry, I’ve been stereotyped, made fun of, picked on my whole life and used to it. I’ve come to learn that being hated is a good thing, it means your doing something right! I know that I’m having the last laugh in the end!
For a decade I’ve stood at 81 inches (Another answer to the question, how tall am I, make them do the math!) and I’m proud of it. Of course with anything in life, it took time to become comfortable and feel accepted, even when people still almost break their neck to carry a conversation with me. My parents gave me life, life gave me height, height got me into basketball, basketball gave me personality, personality gave me friends, friends made me into Me, and Me is always giving back. The life of a giant isn’t an easy one. Except for the occasional ceiling fan with low clearance or a small Euro auto that I squeeze into, being tall is more of an advantage then disadvantage. I enjoy being seen and wondered about. At first I hated the questions and attention, but it helped me become who I am today. I wonder if I were regular size and not super-sized that maybe life would’ve been totally different. I’m thankful in everyway for what I was given. I know I can always earn the rest. I was made this way for a reason and thank my parents for creating me. It might be the luck of the draw to be a little bit taller, but what can I do, I like it that everyone looks up to me, literally!