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Thursday, April 29, 2004 -

Have you ever noticed how much our society is obsessed with SIZE? EVERYTHING boils down to SIZE. We have sizes for everything. There's your shoe size, your underwear size, your pants size, and shirts. There's trial sizes, family sizes, econo sizes, super sizes, travel sizes, bulk sizes, and bonus sizes. You can't go on an airplane with out the right size carry-on bag. You can't buy a car without deciding what size you'd like. We're obsessed with size.

Size can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your view. Some big guys like my size; most of them say my size is too big. You're evaluated by the size of your breasts (if you have them), your various other private parts (if you have them). Size is a descriptor, often used in a derogatory way. You describe people like "the skinny guy with the big ears", or the "big fat blonde chic with the too small blouse." It's all about size.

People like to try things on for size, choose the right size, and eat the right-sized portions in their diet. If given the chance, most people choose the smallest-sized laptops, but the largest-sized screens for their desktops. They resize and upsize digital photos, and resize their computer desktop windows.

Companies know that it's all about size. They know that the smallest decrease in the size of a product can lead to a great increase in the size of their profits. Coke cans used to not be dented in at the top, but a straight tube. That small difference in size let Coke save money on the aluminum used to make the can. Lumber is the same way. A 1X3 board is not actually one inch by three inches at all, but closer to three-quarters of an inch by two-and-a-half inches. Companies also cut costs by down-sizing. What's up with all this emphasis on size?

Speaking of wood, some sizes have become standards, for varying reasons, even if that actual size is not equal to the size in name. Two by four pieces of wood are not actually 2X4. You haven't thought about the size of the spiggot on your outdoor water faucet, or your hoses lately. They're all the same size. We have paper sizes, like letter, legal, and tabloid. We have sizes for rolls of toilet paper, so they fit on our holders. There's sizes of pans in the kitchen, and sizes of eggs to fry in those pans. We have garbage bag sizes, and the size of those covers on our light switches. We assume when we buy gas, that the size of the pump nozzle, will be the appropriate size to fit in the opening of our car. And we pull into the drivethrough or roadway, and assume the size of it will accommodate our vehicle.

The whole world is wrapped up in size. Without size, we'd come to a grinding halt, almost immediately. People couldn't advertise their size, or that of their products. There would be no "bigger", "longer", "smaller", or "miniscule". Our clothes wouldn't fit, but nobody would care what we weighed. Size would be gone. And with it, our way of life.

So, size is where it's all. Now, take a big breath, and together, let's all release, our sighs...

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