“Your biceps are enormous, Josh,” said a colleague the other day. “Have you been working out?”
“No,” I said. “You have small eyes, and I’m wearing my nine-year-old son’s shirt.”
He looked at me with pause, wondering if he should take me seriously. It got me thinking about size and the perception of it.
Let’s rewind a few months. Our President is fond of stating that his Inauguration speech this past January brought out a record number of people, despite copious amounts of photographic proof confirming the opposite. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, though. Having tiny hands can make everything seem bigger, even crowd size. I was shocked to discover shortly afterwards that the opposite can also be true.
Now, inevitably, any conversation about size and the perception of it will veer perilously close to locker room talk. However, there will be none of that here. This is a family blog post.
Let’s talk about beer mugs instead!
A small caveat: I have large hands. I’m proud of that. My beer-drinking friend does too. A large-handed man doesn’t generally befriend a small-handed man, such as my aforementioned co-worker. Those are the rules. I didn’t make them up.
We oftentimes attend a bar that sells beer by the liter. My friend partakes in these massive beers because he is part Irish and always a real man. I am not Irish and only occasionally a man, so I’m quite content with my 12 ounces of beer. At times, when my manhood is peaking, I will enjoy a 16-ounce beer.
A few weeks ago, as the two of us were engaged in deep conversation at this local watering hole, a complete stranger walked up to me and began making fun of my “teensy little pediatric beer.” I was rendered mute, paralyzed by shock. So was my large-handed, beer-drinking friend.
Then, this same man asked if he could take a selfie with me and my “kid beer.” His girlfriend laughed as she took the photo.
This very odd encounter was a puzzling, isolated incident—or so I thought. Unfortunately, a similar mocking experience happened again the following week, with a completely different man mocking my “Smurf-sized” beer.
Suddenly, like a giant light bulb going on over my head, I realized what had been happening. It would seem that the politicization of size has created an awkward situation for me. It’s almost as if the national discussion on tiny-handed people has backfired on me and my larger-sized hands. My friend was just protected in both situations by his larger beer mug!
Herein lies the dilemma. It’s not fair to ask my friend to reduce his beer mug size to make me feel better, as that would just subject him to the same level of ridicule I am dealing with. The question then becomes: Would the beer look as small as it did now if my hands were only half their size?
It was time to test the theory. Since I wasn’t going to have hand reduction surgery—because it doesn’t exist, and because it would hurt and make me look rather awkward—I had to think outside the box.
I invited my tiny-eyed, small-handed colleague (the same one who thought my biceps looked enormous) out one evening after work. Now, we aren’t particularly friendly. He annoys me and I him. However, I was willing to look past these discrepancies to test my all-important theory.
We both ordered 16-ounce beers and began drinking them. Almost immediately, there was cackling from the other bar patrons, all pointing at me and snickering.
“Did you want to put that beer in a baby bottle?” asked the bartender, as the other patrons laughed.
They weren’t laughing at my colleague, despite the fact that we were both consuming 16-ounce beers! I was dumbfounded. These people were discriminating against large-handed people.
I’m not sure where to go from here. I suppose the Big and Tall bar might be more suited to me and my rather impressively large hands.
Perhaps I’ll cave to the pressures of society and order the liter of beer next time. It’s a shame that, in this day and age, I even have to contemplate that option.