I have never felt small. Nor, for that matter, have I ever felt tall. I stand 5’10”, and am a normal-sized adult human male.
Lately, however, I’ve just felt short. At the hospital, I work in a building in the middle of a construction zone, and judging by the men I sometimes encounter on the elevator, it seems like there’s a minimum height requirement of 7’1″ to be employed in the construction industry.
OK, so perhaps the manual trades attract bigger, more testosterone-saturated men. But what explains the fact that many eighth-grade boys tower over me?
For the last few weeks, I’ve served as the worship coordinator for the diocesan Confirmation Masses at the cathedral. Our bishop wants to personally confirm each young person in the diocese, and he does them in small clumps of parishes at scheduled Masses at St. Andrew’s. As a worship coordinator, I direct the flow of candidates and sponsors from the staging area to the cathedra.
I’ve been astonished at how many of the male candidates — typically, boys in the seventh to ninth grades — are significantly taller than I am. At the last Mass, of perhaps 45 boys being confirmed, two-thirds were taller than me by at least two inches.
And don’t get me started on physique. Most of those boys could out-power me with probably little difficulty.
Have I simply not noticed this before? Or (perhaps as a function of better nutrition and disease prevention) are young people healthier and therefore getting taller and more “built”?