My physiotherapist once told me this. We got on famously, which was just as well given the amount of time I had her poking my back and running ultrasound transmitters over a prolapsed disc. I used to joke that with that amount of jelly involved, she’d have to marry me.
‘Explain yourself woman. That sounds like gibberish to me.’
‘OK. You’re 6’1”. You weigh in at just about 147 lbs, and that’s fully clothed. So under 147 lbs. Maybe 145.’
‘That’s good isn’t it? I mean, being a porker is bad, unless I’m mistaken.’
‘In your case it’s not good to be so underweight. Your BMI is that of a nineteen year old.’
‘Not too surprising. I’ve been the same height since then. And the same weight.’
‘It’s not healthy at your age.’ That stung a bit. ‘I mean, look at you. You’ve got long legs, a long body, and a long neck.’
‘You’re too long for your muscles to support you very well, because you don’t have any muscles. I’m surprised your head doesn’t come off in a high wind. Can you clap your hands?’
I demonstrated my ability to do this.
‘Amazing. I’ve never seen that done without the use of pecs, and you don’t appear to have any. Abs? None. I’m sure I can see your spine from the front. Legs? I’ve seen more meat on a butcher’s pencil. Can you get your two hands round the thickest part of your thigh?’
Again, I demonstrated my ability to do this.
‘See? Your fingers and your thumbs overlap.’
‘I’ve got long hands.’
‘Hahahahaha. Give me a break. And what happened to your arse? Where’s that gone?’
‘Is there a point to this conversation, or did you just wake up grumpy? Row with the boyfriend maybe? Don’t take it out on me, you misery.’
‘No, what it means is that you don’t have the strength to protect such a long frame. Here’s you with your back out. You’ll have trouble with your knees in later life, too. You can’t keep the joints stable very easily. Mark my words, you’re in trouble.’
‘How very reassuring.’
Annoyingly, she turned out to be right. I mentioned falling in a ditch on Saturday. I’m unstable at the best of times, because I only have really small feet; I can usually take a 6 shoe, though I often have to go for an 8, since I have very high arches. This is a condition called ‘equine feet,’ believe it or not. Hence I don’t have a very stable base to work with; it’s like trying to balance a broom on its handle. So if I slip, as I did, I tend to pitch face down into something hard. I once nearly broke my nose doing this, and ended up with a very convincing double split in my lower lip, and an even more convincing black eye. Once I fell, slowed my fall by hitting my head on a tree, and woke up surrounded by concerned faces, and a voice saying ‘The ambulance is on its way.’
Add in the trick knees I’ve mentioned, and in the ice and snow I display all the coordination and agility of Bambi on a frozen lake. My knees just give way. On this occasion they gave way just by the only bit of the ditch that had a low section of banking, towards which I staggered with unerring accuracy before flopping gracelessly in on my back. What’s the opposite of a bellyflop? I don’t know, but I invented it over the weekend.
She was right. I am too tall for my height.