Opinion: Here’s a tall tale


I went to my doctor after an episode of lightheadedness. During an MRI, I had a flashback to high school trigonometry class where I also stared at a blank ceiling, listening to strange, indecipherable sounds. At the hospital they give you a buzzer to press if the experience becomes unbearable, a courtesy never extended by my freshman math teacher.

After they examined my brain scan, a nurse called to report they didn’t find anything. Obviously, this was good news, but did the test results have to be phrased quite that way?

On my license, my passport and all medical questionnaires, I always listed myself as 5-foot-10 — not as tall as my dad (a strapping 6-footer) but taller than my mom, a petite 5-3. I knew I was 5-9 1/2, but I always rounded it up. I mean, who was I hurting?

In the follow-up appointment, the nurse measured my vitals.

“Blood pressure 123 over 80, height 5-8, weight 165. Now, please step over here and …”

 “Whoa! How tall did you say I was?”

 “That would be 5 feet, 8 inches — in your socks, which adds a little.”

 “Look, first of all, I’m 5-10, maybe 5-9 1/2, and second, these are nylon dress socks, and very thin.”

“Whatever you say, Mr. Wolfsie. Please grab one of the blue robes off that hook on the door … if you can reach it.”

When I got home, I asked my wife how tall she thought I was.

“Well, I’m 5-7, so I’d say you are 5-8. And you’re still as adorable as can be.”

“But when we got married, I told you I was 5-10.

“I figured you rounded it up from 5-7.

That’s the end of the story. No illness, but I’m either a pathological liar (misrepresenting my height for 50 years) and need some psychological counseling — or I am (and this is tough to admit) shrinking.

I haven’t decided which one it is. I guess it’s going to depend on which one is covered by my medical insurance.

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