Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Very Heights of Celebrity

I say all of the following as a short man to whom shortness is no "shortcoming." Ha ha, what delightful wordplay. Nor, as a small fat man, do I wish to "belittle" anyone for their stature. Merciful heavens, I'm on fire today! But I couldn't believe it in the ADVENTURE TIME meeting the other day when Ashly Burch said she met Harrison Ford and he was just a little taller than her! She stood up and Kent stood up and she explained to Kent, using his body as a prop, exactly what spot Harrison Ford would come up to on him. I was attending the meeting via video, and could not see their heads nor much else of what was going on. It was a comical sight of torsos magically disengaged, as you may joyfully entertain yourself by imagining. I did get the gist. Harrison Ford, as already stated, is barely taller than Ashly Burch, and Ashly Burch is not a tall woman. I would put Ashly at about Megan Abbott size... and as you certainly recall, I once asked for and received permission to refer to Megan as "doll-like" in a scrupulously fact-checked magazine article. Or I think I said "a living doll." And - I must have told you this before! - Megan says that Norman Mailer was, when she encountered him, about her (Megan's) size. But I guess everybody knows old Norman was a pugnacious little thing. I do like to consider Ashly and Megan, these two remarkable women of my happy acquaintance - short of stature but great in spirit! two of my favorites if you must know - towering, as they by all rights should, over those churning testosterone factories Harrison Ford and Norman Mailer. Once Kent Osborne and Ward McCarthy and I were at Rob Schneider's house - don't ask! - and he was quite the expert on the heights of other celebrities. "Aaron Neville, not a tall man," he would distractedly mutter, for example, as we sipped cautiously at his teeny pony-sized beers. I was reminded quite forcefully of the Napoleon scene from TIME BANDITS as Mr. Schneider's litany - almanac! - of short entertainers began to unfurl itself just a little at a time, taking on a surprising and almost poetic life of its own. I believe he knew Aaron Neville's exact height. And Aaron Neville looks so muscly in pictures! Maybe it's a form of compensation, if Rob Schneider's powers of observation are to be trusted... and why shouldn't they be? I don't think it is any secret that Mr. Schneider is not known as a town-stomping giant himself. Hence his interest in the subject, perhaps. Ward McCarthy and I saw Martin Sheen scurrying out of a Johnny Rocket's hamburger restaurant in Santa Monica once, clutching a bag of hamburgers in his tiny, rat-like hands. I am not sure his hands were tiny! And I am quite sure they were BY NO MEANS rat-like; I just said that to startle you! Pleasantly, I trust. Over the years, my impressionistic gauzy memory has preserved Mr. Sheen as if in amber: a stumpy figure he appears in my strange and inaccurate dreams, with an enormous head. Movie stars all have enormous heads, I have been informed by dubious sources, and spindly little bodies scarcely capable of holding them up. But Harrison Ford is what made me recollect all this. Who knew he was the size of a doll? We do have one personal photo of Harrison Ford with his back turned. Let's "click" here and study it for clues. He's kind of hunched over, which doesn't help. And come to think of it, "Blog" Buddy Chris Offutt has been to Harrison Ford's house! We'll grill him later. But he may not be the kind to take the measure of a man and shout it to the prurient readership of height-obsessed jackals to whom I so willingly cater.