Regarding beach midgets


I know. Nobody writes attention-grabbing titles like me. You’re welcome.

Settle down, everyone. I know some people consider “midget” to be a derogatory term. I know they prefer that “short people” be used, and to be honest I’ve never understood that. Isn’t “midget” a cooler way to refer to them than “short people”? And “short people” isn’t really accurate anyway, right? Aren’t Danny DeVito or Tom Cruise “short people”?

Note: If you’ve ever seen Tom Cruise in person you’d know that he’s really, really short. Jarringly short. Amazingly tiny. Itsy-bitsy adult male. But enough about that small-fry.

Anywho, apologies in advance for using the word “midget” in this story, but it can’t be told without it. It’s germane to the plot, as they say. Still, I worry that I’ll offend the wrong angry midget as I did that angry clown a few months ago, and that would be tragic, not to mention the horrifying prospect of being confronted by an enraged midget.

You know me, though. I’ve never been one to let political correctness get in the way of a good laugh. Keep that in mind as you read on…

Years ago I used to go to the beach every year with my sister’s family. We’d go to Oak Island and we’d been going there since 1978, so it’s sort of a second home.

My brother-in-law Jigger and I would sit out on the deck or the beach, just shooting the breeze and checking out the scenery. My nephew would often be with us, usually chasing crabs or swimming in the ocean. At one point we decided to come up with a code word when we saw a good looking girl on the beach. We did this because my nephew would run to our wives and tell them we were checking out the ladies. On a related note, my nephew was a little snitch.

For reasons known only to Jigger, he came up with the code word for a hot girl, and that word was “midget.” I know, I know. Perhaps alcohol was involved. I can’t be sure.

So, for the next three to four years every time one of us spotted a girl we’d say “Midget!” and point her out on the beach. My nephew would always strain to see, but for the life of him he could never find the elusive Midget on the Beach. I’m sure it was frustrating for him because apparently there were a lot of midgets frolicking in the sand and surf those days.

Then one day it happened. We were just lounging there, enjoying a cold beverage, when my nephew sat bolt upright and screamed, “Midget! MIDGET!!! Over there!”

Jigger and I both looked, and sure enough, strolling up the beach was a bonafide real-life midget, just strutting down the shore like a boss.

My nephew was euphoric. After all those years of missing the midgets we’d been pointing out, he’d finally found one of his very own. I swear I thought he was going to run down and hug the little guy.

As for Jigger and I, we both laughed so hard we were in tears.

And to this day, I can’t see a short person without thinking of that day.

Dave Shoemaker is a retired teacher, athletic director and basketball coach with most of his professional years spent at Paint Valley. He also served as the national basketball coach for the island country of Montserrat in the British West Indies. He lives in southern Ohio with his best friends and companions, his dogs Sweet Lilly and Hank. He can be reached at

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