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to my pit-stop on the Info-Web! My name is RON "SMITTY" SMITHINSKI.
You've doubtless come across the above-mentioned public hazard, SHORT
PEOPLE AND UMBRELLAS. I'm sure I hardly need to relate its inherent dangers.
Regardless, I'll very briefly (151 words) summarize:
It's raining. People using umbrellas,
walking narrow sidewalks. Fat people, skinny people, tall people, and,
yes, SHORT PEOPLE. The latter can be classified as anyone under 5'6".
The common way to hold an umbrella is with bent elbow and slightly outstretched
hand, grip more-or-less shoulder high. The average distance between
the plane of the top of the umbrella handle and the plane of the SHARP,
METAL SPIKES which ALMOST ALWAYS PROTRUDE from the edges of the umbrella's
arced dome, is 8". 8" + 5'6" is 6'2". Yet, assuming
that short people most frequently range between 5'2" and 5'6",
and their variances in elbow bending result in a grip-hold ranging between
3" below and 3" above shoulder height, it is within reason
that the TARGET AREA FOR SHORT PEOPLE UMBRELLA ATTACKS falls between
the heights of 5'7" and 6'5".
Now, consider whether someone
you know stands between the heights of 6'5" and 7'1". Even that
person's eyes, mouth, and neck would be located between 2" and 9"
from the top of their heads, placing FACIAL TENDER SPOTS fully within
the 6'5"-high SHORT UMBRELLA ATTACK RANGE.
I continue, you may be wondering at this point why I, RON "SMITTY"
SMITHINSKI, am so personally driven to expose and remedy this serious
social dilemma. You may even have correctly guessed that this danger is
one I am personally, painfully familiar with. In 1986, after years of
rigorous training with the dream to
be an OLYMPIC TETHERBALL PLAYER, and on the eve of my biggest competition
yet, I WAS STABBED IN THE EYE by an umbrella on a very rainy day in downtown
Milwaukee (location of the North American Tetherball Trials). With blood
from one eyeball coating my rain jacket, my one remaining good eye was
able to see that, indeed, I HAD BEEN STRUCK BY A SHORT PERSON. She was
5'4" (per court documents), and had been observing her Pekinese,
on a leash, defecate on the sidewalk, when she SWUNG AROUND WILDLY with
her umbrella and ruined my eye forever. My tetherball career over, I became
bitter and directionless -- an outcast of society. Then, nine years and
twenty-seven eye surgeries later, seated at the window seat of a PIEROGI
RESTAURANT on a rainy afternoon, I witnessed a drunk, fat man kill seven
school children in his car. It was then that I worte an Op-Ed in the Milwaukee
Journal-Sentinel on the parallels between the AUTOMOBILE/DRUNK DRIVER
and the UMBRELLA/SHORT PERSON. This Op-Ed compared the way in which appropriate
drunk driving legislation delinquently arrived late in the 20th century
to the way in which our thoughts on the SEVERE PERSONAL AND LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS
OF SHORT PEOPLE USING UMBRELLAS must undergo a shift in public perception
soon in the 21st. How many of you normal-heighted people, ranging from
5'7" to 7'1", have been poked in the eye, or VERY NEARLY poked
in the eye by a short person's umbrella spikes? The numbers are in the
tens of thousands, and the worst is yet to come. And still, the prevailing
"attitude on the street" regarding the superficially or more
seriously injured persons in short people umbrella attacks, is that they
are UNAVOIDABLE, or that "SHORT PEOPLE AREN'T CONCSIOUS TRYING TO
HURT ANYONE." These umbrella attack victims, if they don't go to
the EMERGENCY ROOM, commonly go home WINCING IN PAIN or THANKING THE LORD
that a spike VERY SIMILAR TO THE END OF A FENCING SWORD had missed their
eye by MERE INCHES, often MAKING EXCUSES for their attackers, such as
SHORT PEOPLE DESERVE A BREAK or SHORT PEOPLE ARE ALSO A LITTLE SHORT ON
BRAINS. I am utterly convinced that within 10 years time, people will
have thought it RIDICULOUSLY EGREGIOUS that there was an era when short
people might have had CASUAL ACCESS to such damaging tools as the house
here to read ALL OF THE EMAIL I'VE BEEN GETTING ABOUT THE HOODBRELLA!!
Don't get me wrong. Nobody who
knows me would say that RON "SMITTY" SMITHINSKI has a small
heart, or a black heart, or a hurtful, angry heart. So I am not suggesting
that short people go around wet all the time. Once legislation is passed
that ensures a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY on short person access to umbrellas,
these little people will be kept as dry, or at least very nearly so, as
normal-heighted people. To insure this, I've created "THE HOODBRELLA,"
a hooded hat with a diminutive, rubber-spiked umbrella on the top. With
any luck, THE HOODBRELLA will soon be available at all LONG'S DRUGS, MERVIN'S,
and VARIOUS CHILDREN'S CLOTHING OUTLETS, and will retail for only $29.95.
here to order and for a .GIF image of "THE HOODBRELLA"
A REMINDER: I am taking the high
road on this issue. Others might go so far as to ask whether it is just
a coincidence that 5'7" is the LOWEST VICTIM HEIGHT that short people
(5'6" or lower) stab with sharp objects on rainy days. But I believe
it is for you to think over whether or not short people are also INHERENTLY
"BAD" PEOPLE as well as being hazards when equipped with certain
objects. For now, I simply want umbrellas held up high, like our pride,
out of their reach.
RONALD "SMITTY" SMITHINSKI
FRIEND OF THE AVERAGE-TO-TALL-HEIGHTED PEOPLES