What the hell…?
Only momentarily was I dumbfounded. I got it.
My dachshunds – Lilli and Clifford — and I were out for our Saturday morning stroll through Lemon Park. For those of you unfamiliar, dachshund is German for “stretch dog on three-inch legs with a monster megalomaniacal ego.” In fact, I chose dachshunds for that reason. I was accustomed to big dogs – rotties, pit bulls, dobies – but when I was in the market to adopt, I decided I wanted puppies that could spend the day at my office without eating my clients. My vet suggested dachshunds; according to him they had “the 150-lb attitude compressed into a 15-lb package.” He didn’t lie.
Lilli (she who is boss of the world) jerked us to an unfamiliar tree. After a quick sniff, she sat back and glared a silent command at Clifford. He, too, ran over and took a sniff, craning to find the source of the scent. Then suddenly he snorted, vaulted high into the air, lifted his leg and put his mark just over knee-high on the trunk of the tree. I waited for him to stand on his hind legs, do a canine end-zone dance and declare “I am the biggest, baddest dog in this park (oops! — next to Lilli, of course),” but he managed to restrain himself.
It’s much the same with Napoleon’s brethren. Like Rottweilers, taller men seem to be a little more confident and laid back. They have nothing to prove. The Cliffords of the world, however, seem to have to overcompensate for those short little legs in other ways.
Take, for example, my stepdad. I love the man dearly, but he’s a short little man with a very big ego – and a matching mouth. Unfortunately for him, he took on the only other person in the world who actually scares the hell out of me. One day my very pregnant mother chased him down our quiet suburban street pointing his .38 at him and threatening to kill him. Fortunately for all of us, she couldn’t convince him to come back and take the safety off for her so she could shoot him.
While my preference is for men a lot taller than me, I’ve actually dated a couple of shorties myself. One of them I made the mistake of marrying, but that’s many stories for many other days. The other was a wrestler I dated while I was in my bad boy phase. Vince commanded that whenever we went out, I was to wear flats so I’d only be a couple of inches taller than he was. His insistence really wasn’t necessary, however, because anything higher than a ballet slipper usually landed me flat on my butt. Vince also had a nasty habit of opening the door, walking through it and swinging wide so I could slip through before it hit me. But on a 10-point scale his face was a 9.5 and the rest of him – or at least what there was of him – was a 12. And he wrote the most beautiful poetry. Granted, my red pen and I had to bleed all over it before I could read it easily, but his heart was in the right place. I figured I could put up with his ‘shortcomings.’
One evening, as friends arrived for a dinner party, Vince jumped mouth first out of his little-man-with-a-big-ego bag. I traded the flats I’d intended to wear for my 4-inch Evan Picone killer heels (only the second time I’d had the courage to put them on) that put me about half a foot taller than his dandruff. He took his dessert home wrapped in my collection of his red-penned poetry.
So, is this the point at which I should really say something like “There are many, many exceptions to my rule. Why, some of my best friends are short men?”
Apparently, it is. Clifford just rolled over and offered me his tummy.