Danny and me
I was 14, I think. It was 1995. I ventured into a new junior high as my family had relocated from the dregs of the Inland Empire in southern California to the much more affluent area of Orange County, home to the rich and incredibly conservative. Up to that point in my life, I don't remember ever really thinking about myself in terms of size, volume, weight, fat-ness, or what-have-you.
I had been teased, but it never really stuck. In my first semester at this new junior high, in my eighth grade year, a particular student took aim at me. This young man, a year and grade younger at age 13, stood 4-foot-nothing and 100 pounds on a rainy day. He, let's call him Danny, decided I was an offense on his bus, school and life. Within my first week Danny walked up to me during the long morning ride to school and said simply, "do fat people ever stop eating?" I was confused, but caught on quick. We also shared an advanced Algebra class, and a few days later he stayed back to remark to me that he didn't think "big 'ol fatties" had enough time away from eating to study. I, a 14 year old boy with an incredibly sensitive self-image, had no fucking clue what to do.
I was sad and angry, but not at Danny. I was angry that I wasn't smaller. I was angry that I wasn't skinny like him. I was sad that I was angry. I had a lot of emotions and listened to a lot of Nirvana, Black Flag and Lisa Loeb (it was a weird time for me). It all came colliding together one day in that same advanced Algebra class. We had 10 minutes to socialize since the teacher had run out of material. Danny walked over to my desk, and called for the attention of the other teens around me. He then asked what they thought about such a "big, fat idiot" being in their advanced class.
I was 14. I saw red. Kurt Cobain's guitar started ripping through my brain. I stood up, now towering 2 feet over my antagonist. With a small move of my shoulder, my hand pressed into his shoulder, Danny flew across the room, taking two desks and a young lady to the floor with him. I stood frozen as our teacher sprung to attention, demanding that I go directly to the principal's office. The principal was waiting for me. She wasn't happy. For what seemed like hours she went on and on about my size and how I could really hurt someone. She went from begging to demanding, all in a plea that I contain myself, my size. As I received my scolding I realized that I stood an easy foot taller than her. She waved a finger up at me as she tried to "scare" me with threats and confrontations. I was scared and threatened. But I also realized in a way I had not before that I was different. I was tall and large, I was a threat. That is when I realized I was a giant. That I wouldn't be climbing any bean-stalks, I'd be warring against those who did.
Size, dimension, magnitude
Fast-forward 20 years, here we are today. I found a way to deal with the Dannys of the world without throwing them across the room. I adapted, but I also grew - even more. The assimilation my principal wanted never came, but not because I didn't try. To this day I still try to make myself smaller, I collapse on the train or when I'm flying in hopes that I will become normally sized. Even that is a bad habit, a dismissal of who I am. The pivotal time for me, in that eighth grade year, realizing I was larger than most, signified something deeper. A dialogue I would always have about how me and the world get through the day. Much of our world isn't designed for me, but I live in it regardless. This is about height, width, weight, and just sheer size itself. The key to understanding where people like me come from is in understanding the scale I operate at. I'm not the largest dude around, but I am an avatar of the large - a high-average of the plus-sized men. So let's get down to the brass tacks.
For scientific purposes I've recorded my measurements as of December 2015 and will be providing updates as necessary. This should provide guidance for anyone looking at my fly-ass fashion or just wondering if they will fit in an airplane bathroom.
Max's Measurements 12/2015
Height: 74.75" (6'3")
Shoulders: 21" wide
Hands: 4.5" wide, 8" long
Feet: 11.5" long (size 13)
Weight: 130kg / 286lbs
In the end, this whole little rant isn't about Danny and me. It's about understanding what goes into the physical, mental and emotional state that I find myself in, that others like me find themselves in. When I say I'm a giant I don't mean I'm just some 6'3", 130kg dude with devastating good looks. Giant is a term of difference for me, a word that separates me from my humanity in a sense. It signifies that the world will always be too small or I will be too big. Something that substantiates everything from funny stories to vitriolic assumptions and accusations, from slight inconveniences to self-imposed limitations. Being a giant isn't about pride in my size, or fear of what it means. It is both. The meaningfulness comes from the benefit but also from the struggle. I hope that I can help represent them both - and maybe make you laugh occasionally.
If you've made it this far and you still are wondering what it takes to be a giant, just try hiding an entire 12oz can behind your hand.