small, medium, and large

My mom called me Sunday morning to ruin Christmas, per annual tradition. Perhaps that’s overstating it, but it’s more fun than simply describing the fact that she now insists on not just getting ideas from us for gift giving, but specific brands, colors, and sizes. I’d suggested earlier, in an email, that there were a few different jackets I’d like. Here are examples of a couple, complete with links to online catalogs, I’d told her, because she insists on being told exactly what she should get me. I fight it by trying to suggest at least a couple of options, to at least feign a bit of suspense in the whole process. “I like the one with the full zipper,” she told me. Yes, that one is great, I confirmed. But what color, she wanted to know. And what size. I told her I’d be a small. Then there was a pause and the inaudible but clear troubled thought on the other end of the line.

“But the pants I got you are a ‘medium’.” She was perplexed. This isn’t an infrequent event.

In this case, I have to admit that my sizing is perplexing. I have the physique of a slightly elongated dwarf. It turns out that this gene is dominant and in both of my family lines. And so, my inseam and my waist are the same measurement, barely. I buy jeans that are 32×32 and let the slightly too long pants trip me on my heels when I’m not wearing shoes with sufficient height. Just the other day I had Karyn measure my chest (so that I could tell my mother what size jacket I’d like), and when she started to reach under my shirt to make the measurement, I told her that was unnecessary. Besides her hands being cold I thought it wouldn’t hurt to round up on the measurement. And yet, my chest measurement was still roughly the equivalent of a 10-year-old girl’s, slowly tapering towards my narrow, hunched shoulders, useful for twisting my way out of all of those foxholes and crawlspaces I [never] find myself within.

So my pants are a “medium,” my jacket is a “small.” I taper from wide to narrow as you move up my body, but then there’s the issue of my neck and head. You might say I have an hourglass figure, except the neck of said hourglass is not at my waist, but my upper torso, flaring out to the bulbous head that rests comfortably atop my thick neck. Today, I wore a thin sweater, accentuating my thin torso, and, without any collar, also emphasizing the improbable Charlie Brown sized sphere topping off my physique.

I’m sure the new jacket, sized small, and naturally form fitting for running, will make it all the more comical with the combination of size medium pants and size large hat. “Mommy, look at the little man running in the mountains! Is that a real Hobbit?” My private aspiration is that they may make a new category for me in future trail races.

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