Dear Abby: Humor, grace help tall people handle tiresome questions

Men exasperated by the same old comments are advised to take a positive approach.

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DEAR ABBY: Regarding “Tall Person Sympathizer” (Feb. 28), whose very tall husband and son hate the comments they receive, I am 6 feet, 8 inches tall, so I can relate. One does feel like part of a freak show and have to deal with things most average height people don’t think twice about, like, “Can I fit in that car?” or “Where can I buy clothes that fit?” And that tired basketball question. Yep, even at my age of 64 I still hear it.

But the questions don’t bother me much anymore — except for “How’s the weather up there?” Now when someone asks the height question, I quickly respond with the obviously wrong answer of 5 feet 6. It always gets a laugh, and there usually is a little small talk after that, and I may even ask them their height. Then I tell them, I am 80 inches tall, which is true, and let them figure it out.

Seriously, though, most people look favorably upon you and wish they themselves were taller. I’ll add, from my memory of my youth, it sure didn’t hurt in attracting the ladies. — JAMES IN DELAWARE

DEAR JAMES: I received a “tall” stack of responses about that letter — almost all of them upbeat and fun. Several suggested the helpful retort when asked if they play (or played) basketball:

Short person: “Do you play basketball?”

Tall person: “No, do you play miniature golf?”

Most readers emphasized the positivity of accepting all of our unique differences. Read on for another gem:

DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter was 6 feet tall by the time she was a sophomore in high school. And yes, she received a lot of comments about it. She told me that when she was 15 she decided to embrace her height. And she did.

During her senior year, she auditioned for “Miss Local High School” and performed a monologue about what it was like to be a 6-foot-tall girl in high school. With jokes and good humor, she addressed the questions of playing basketball and volleyball and said she did neither. But she finished by saying that the best thing about being so tall was that she was able to help all the old, bent-over folks in the grocery store when they needed an item on the top shelf.

She didn’t win the contest, but she did bring laughter to the audience. Today, she’s a successful businesswoman with a boyfriend who is even taller. She has never considered her height a problem, so it isn’t. — CAROL IN FLORIDA

DEAR ABBY: I have a dilemma. A decadeslong friendship ended last year after an unfortunate, painful event. I have items he loaned me. What do I do with them, as we are no longer in contact? Should I ship them to his house? Donate them to charity? Neither seems like a good idea. I’m not angry, but I can no longer let this person be any part of my life. What is the right thing to do? — AT A LOSS IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR AT A LOSS: The right thing to do would be to send the items to his house. They are not yours to donate; they are his property.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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