END NOTES by Nancy Clark
When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why
But why wonder, why wonder? I am green and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I want to be – Kermit the Frog (lyrics by Joe Rapposo)
Kermit, the Frog, perceives himself as a misfit in his #1 hit song about “bein’ green.” He laments that his verdant hue separates him from “the real world,” and he struggles to “fit in” –even among his pink, orange, blue and purple-skinned best friends. The green frog just wants to be recognized and accepted as an “average guy.”
NEWS FLASH, Kermit: in the average salad bowl of life, sometimes you’re the tomato, and sometimes you’re the peel.
Millions of us go through life with a unique physical characteristic that falls short of making the “average” charts. Whether our anomalous uniqueness is rooted in genetics, happenstance, or life choices, we are challenged to not only find a way to fit “in” but also a graceful way to “fit into.” This is especially true when it comes to public seating.
Theater auditoriums are notorious for “girth discrimination.” Not all ticket-holders are fashion-runway thin and slight of derrière. Those of us with extra gluteal padding find comfortable seating to be as rare as hens’ teeth. Recently, hubby and I were among a sea of student-supporters packed like sardines in a high school auditorium, a space short on air conditioning but long on seating challenge. The temperature rose from uncomfortable to unbearable as a flash mob wave of gyrating patrons wiggled and squiggled to settle adult “booties” into third grade-sized seats. Sitting with right hand clutching left shoulder and vice versa (so as not to invade an elbow-neighbor’s private space), one hour into the program felt like three hours in a straightjacket. (Don’t ask.)
Only Kermit slithered easily into a seat before his pollywog took to the stage.
Major airlines recently announced plans to install more seating in the fuselage of their flying machines. HELLO! Is anyone out there aware that even the average-sized adult is currently in need of a shoe horn to get into a seat?
Amusement park marketers spend bucco bucks to promote family fun on a plethora of ride cars outfitted with a one-size-fits-all safety bar. The thrill loses its appeal for above-average-size riders, however, when the safety bar is totally disobliging to body girth. To reduce embarrassment and trauma at the front of the ride line, I propose the signage posted at the “Line Forms Here” spot that advises who can and cannot ride the ride include the following caveat: “Rider must have less than 22 inch waist and 32 inch hip to board this ride”
Being born six degrees too short or too tall ain’t a walk in the park, either. Rod, a tall, cool drink of water at six-foot, seven-inches, requires a 44-inch inseam to cover his “stilts.” Rod never sits in a commuter window seat for fear his knees will the stab the backside of the passenger in front of him. Nor will he ever own a low, lean driving machine – at least not until the law permits driving with one’s head poking through a moon roof.
My octogenarian friend rarely finds suitable apparel for her petite frame in the Ladies clothing Department. At four-foot-nine and weighing in at 74 pounds, Marjorie is relegated to shopping in “Young Girls,” where appropriate styles are grossly limited.
Do statisticians creating formulas to determine the ubiquitous “average body” size ever think to include our “soles?” Charlie knows what it is to be off the charts in the foot department. It ain’t easy finding shoes to fit his size 13B “dogs.”
As for me: All I want for Christmas are longer legs and extra phalanges at the end of my fingertips. Then I could reach the last box of baking soda at the back of a top grocery shelf or the last gallon of milk on the highest rack in the dairy case. And if I could have a five-spot for every third grader seat my derrière has assaulted through the years, I could purchase my own auditorium armchair, plant it next to Kermit’s and put a butt-end to at least one of my fitting “into” issues.
By the end of his song, Kermit no longer laments “bein’ green.” In fact, he’s proud to be a lettuce leaf in the salad bowl of life. And his message to us is that we do the best we can with who we are, where we are and with what we have; respect the issues and needs of others, and find contentment in how we “fit in” and fit “into.”
Most importantly, he tells us to get comfortable in the skin we’re in, no matter how green it is.
Wise frog, that one.
Nancy Clark and her husband, Tom, rejoice in 50 years of marriage, three children, three grand-children, and on great-grandchild. She dabbles in freelance and memoir writing when she isn’t baking, knitting, reading, or building a jigsaw puzzle.