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THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
May 19, 1990
AL MARTINEZ
Shorty and the Amazons

We were standing in line at McDonald's one day, waiting to buy a McSandwich and McCoke, when my son, apropos to nothing, turned to me and said he wouldn't mind so much being short if we were only rich.

It was at a low ebb in our fortunes and I was not savoring the idea that soon I would be eating a McFishburger instead of duck with a peppercorn glaze, but there was nothing I could do about it.

There was also nothing I could do about being short, having come from short parents whose genetic coding was passed on to me and mine, thus assuring a continued lineage of angry little people raising hell on the periphery of a tall society.

I'm not implying here that we are radically short, if you know what I mean; not like the dancing dwarf on "Twin Peaks" or anything. We are 5-feet-9, which isn't too bad, but which isn't too good either if you are height conscious, which my son was.

He was teen-ager then and generally angry at everything, not the least of which was his father. Even being seen with me in public was anathema. We ran into some of his friends while shopping one day and he introduced me as his parole officer.

Fortunately, he has long since outgrown this aversion to me, but I don't think he has forgiven me for being short. We were looking at some family pictures the other day and I heard him say to his mother, "It's too bad you didn't marry someone like Larry Bird."

I mention this because being short has never been a big problem for me until the other day, when I entered the Land of Amazons.

It began when I was hustled by a couple of men who said they were out to improve the image of, and find work for, heroically proportioned women.

Even in the City of Gimmicks, this sounded like a new one. There are enough organizations in L.A. to embrace every minority from one-legged oboe players to hearing-impaired CPAs from mixed marriages.

But I had never heard of anyone setting out to enhance the fortunes of heroically proportioned women.

I wasn't even sure what the term meant until I met Tracy Faucher.

She was sitting down when I entered the room and stood when we were introduced. That is, she stood ... and stood ... and stood.

I thought she would never stop rising, but she finally leveled off at 6-foot3 and, looking down, she said, "Please to meet you."

Actually, she leveled off at 6-foot-6, the additional inches having been added by spiked heels.

Tracy was not only tall, but broad-shouldered and big-busted, all of which contributed to an imposing difference between us. I felt like one of the Lilliputians meeting Gulliver.

I was just getting used to Tracy when Diana Meier entered. She is 6-feet-5 with heels, and perky. It occurred to me as we met that she might at any moment start cartwheeling around the room, the way perky women are inclined to do sometimes.

When you're short, you've always got to be aware of dreadful possibilities.

Diana has an identical twin, by the way, and they're auditioning for the role of television's new Doublemint Twins. They'd be perfect.

Who could refuse a stick of gum from two women who total almost 13 feet in height?

We had gathered that particular day at the behest of BuiltMore Productions, which is the brainchild of Nersi Navab, a Program Assistant at UCLA Extension, and Daniel Siever, a real estate broker....

They were in business, the two men explained, to create feature films and videotapes that would promote the beauty of Amazonic women. Tracy and Diana were present as examples....

The men reason that, by promoting these assets, a market would be created ... for their Amazons in the worlds of film, fashion....

Heroically proportioned women, they promise, are the wave of the future....

Both Tracy and Diana are withholding judgement on Navab and Siever.

They've both suffered small indignities due to their height, and if BuiltMore can make them more acceptable, that's all right with them.

"I'd be happy," Diana says, "if no one ever again makes a comment like 'How's the weather up there?' or 'Hand me that piano, will you?' Maybe you can help."

That's a pretty tall order on short notice, but I'll try.

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