There’s one form of cripple phobia I don’t understand at all. It’s nanosophobia, which is fear of dwarfs, or little people, as they’re called.
And make no mistake that we, the statistically average in stature, are mighty scared of little people. Deep down inside, we’re flat out terrified of them. Why else would we be so obsessed with dressing them up like elves and bunnies? It’s our desperate attempt to make them cuddly and thus temper the enormous threat they pose.
But I don’t get it. At least with other cripple phobias, I get where they’re coming from. They’re stupid, but I get where they’re coming from. Like people are afraid of quadriplegics because they see one and it reminds them that at any moment they too could slip on a banana peel and become a quadriplegic. So they’re afraid to be around quadriplegics which is where the stupid part comes in because avoiding quadriplegics does nothing to decrease one’s odds of becoming a quadriplegic. In fact, you’re probably better off getting to know as many quads as you can and finding out if they became quads because of some crazy daredevil shit they did. Then you’ll know not to do that same crazy daredevil shit.
But fear of little people can’t come from that same place, can it? As delirious as this abject fear makes us, surely we all still realize that you can’t slip on a banana peel and shrink. And we’re all aware that little people aren’t contagious, right? You won’t become one if you use a public toilet after one.
So maybe it’s more like homophobia. When a guy raves like Rick Santorum, you just know that there’s a big bawdy drag queen with lavender eyelashes and a cone bra inside of him, clawing at his ribcage trying to bust out. Maybe those of us that are most petrified by the sight of little people have a secret burning desire to be a whole lot shorter. But we dare not express it, lest we be shunned by our families and friends.
But that can’t be it. I bet it’s those damn seven dwarfs. They make us all think that little people are so shallow that the entire spectrum of their humanity can be captured in seven personality types. They’re all either sleepy, happy, grumpy, dopey, sneezy or bashful. Or they’re doctors. And they all sleep in the same bed under one enormous blanket. To accurately represent the diversity among little people, Snow White would have to be followed around by about 3.5 million dwarfs. Oh sure, some would be sleepy or dopey, but others would be alert or brilliant or didactic or bemused or pushy or depressed or sarcastic or generous or vindictive or whatever. They would be bank presidents and single moms and acrobats and violinists and fry cooks and drug pushers and so on. But everyone’s been so brainwashed by those damn seven dwarfs.
I don’t know. I don’t get it. I guess I never will. When we of the vertically-acceptable majority are so unabashedly vertocentric, it reflects a deep insecurity on our part. We’re determined not to give up our tallness without a fight.