The first thing
most people say when meeting me in person is, "You're taller than you look
in the magazine," as if the mug shot to the right of this paragraph were
At 6'5", I'm
taller than 99.593% of you. I'm also richer and more intelligent, according to
a new study by two Princeton researchers that says tall people make higher
wages than shorter people for good reason: "On average, taller people earn
more because they are smarter."
Most of you would
give your left lift to be this tall, rich and brilliant. I'm eight inches
smarter than Einstein and seven inches richer than Bill Gates.
Being tall does
have its advantages. Just last week a group of highly remunerated, overly
adored, mostly tall people was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, the
closest thing we have to a Taj Ma-Tall.
But for the most
part tall people are at a terrible disadvantage, even in sports. Our Little
League uniforms seldom fit--not that you can tell, since we're just floating
heads in the back row of every team photo.
Last week at the
U.S. Open, former world No. 1 Marat Safin (6'4") beat 30th-seeded Olivier
Rochus (5'5") for the first time in three matches. "He's a very
uncomfortable player for me," Safin said of Rochus, whose misguided
childhood ambition was "to be tall."
If only Rochus
realized the absurdity of height. "Our strike zones are bigger than
everyone else's," says my 6'11" brother-in-law, Jason Lobo, who's spent
a lifetime avoiding convertibles, ceiling fans and limbo contests. As a
6'11" lefty he has almost no hope of finding golf clubs, which is a pity
because he's the consummate golf partner, much closer to the lightning than you
On the upside,
he's halfway to the board in darts, never needs a periscope at golf tournaments
and was lavished with basketball scholarship offers coming out of high
the world conspires against tall people. Jail-bound Ralph Sampson (7'4")
will get a cot designed for Bonnie (4'11") and Clyde (5'4"), and Aaron
Durley--the 6'8" 13-year-old who played for Saudi Arabia this year in the
Little League World Series--is still getting accused on the Internet of lying
about his age. It goes without saying that Durley plays first base. Like end in
football or the low post in basketball, it's where every tall kid gets
Last week's WNBA
Finals were full of exceptionally tall women, for whom height is even more
burdensome. Former WNBA center Kara Wolters is 6'7" and four months
pregnant, which presents a special challenge when buying a cocktail dress. Her
height drew ridicule as a child, but since then she's been named college
basketball's player of the year (in '97), won an Olympic gold medal (in 2000)
and become happily married to a man seven inches shorter than she--10 inches
shorter when Wolters wears heels, which is often. "Now I'm comfortable with
people looking at me when I walk in the room," she says.