Growing up small-bodied, I learned to desensitize myself from schoolyard belittling and teenage love interests fawning over taller, more physically dominant alpha males. I insisted my short stature was due to immense pressures of having to uphold social constructs which depicted Asian American men as being well-educated, well-dressed, and well-groomed individuals. My family physician, on the other hand, claims it is “just genetics.”
While being short does come with disadvantages, it’s ideal for other things like jump-scaring people from behind trash cans, hedges, and other low-rise objects. That being said, there was a phase where I would strictly proclaim my height using the lowest possible increment in a desperate attempt to boost my confidence. As if, in some paradoxical way, decreasing the unit of measurement would somehow increase the level of grandiose. Someone would ask How tall are you? and I’d answer A whopping 1,701.8 millimeters!
Which was only the aforementioned 5’7”, my height at seventeen and six years later as a twenty-three year old. Regardless of numerous shortcomings, no pun intended, with things like certain supermarket goods and dreams of dominating the NBA as the first Vietnamese player being out of reach, I believe there is beauty behind the madness. Less body means less likely to topple while shoe tying and reduced drying times after showers, which means more time to write flash pieces such as this. And these little fortunes are things I am forever grateful for.
Nam Hoang Tran holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. His work has appeared in Funny-ish, Mouthful Montana, Bending Genres, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Orlando, though plans on traveling once the pandemic subsides. www.namhtran.com
See more of his work in 9.1