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When shall I stop growing taller?

When shall I stop growing taller?

Everyone wants to be tall..Is that the way it is? Here Mr. Shaw,who had special life experience, shares his story with us humorously. He delivered this speech in Toastmasters contest (Beijing Division level) and won the third prize.  

When shall I stop growing taller?

  Nowadays, being tall is a fashion,everybody wants to grow taller. But years ago, when I was young,I was afraid of growing taller. I often asked myself:”When shall I stop growing taller?”Do you want to know why? Let me tell you from the very beginning.

  When I was a little boy,I was not taller than my peers. In fact, I was even a little shorter than the average. After entering middle school, I began to grow a little faster. Three years later,when I was 15 years old, I had reached 175 centimeters. I was very glad because when I talked with others, there was no need to look up at their faces. Next year,I grew to 177 cm.tall, and became one of the three tallest students in my class. I felt quite proud. Every now and then, I would find someone looking at me enviously.

  However, as time went by, my pride receded gradually as I was still growing, taller and taller. About one year later, I was almost 180 cm. tall. Most of my classmates had stopped growing, butI had not.I began to worry.

  Another year passed. In 1968,when I went to rural area with my schoolmates in the movement of "go to the countryside”, I was 184 cm. tall, almost half a head taller than other tall students. When people looked at me, the expressions on their faces were curious, not envious any more. They stared at me just like watching a rare animal. That made me very uncomfortable. Besides, compared with others, I needed more food to fill my stomach and more cloth to make clothes. That was a serious problem, because in those years, you could not buy food and cloth freely, you must have coupons. And the coupons were evenly distributed to each person. So, the cloth that was enough to make a suit of clothes for others was just a little more than enough to make a jacket for me.

  I was getting really worried. I began to ask myself:"When shall I stop growing taller?" I had hoped I could stop growing immediately. I even wanted to become shorter.

  So I began to do the heaviest physical labor, in the hope it would stop my growing. Our village is in a mountainous area. In those years, the only means of carrying things in mountainous area were shoulder poles. Do you know shoulder poles? Shoulder poles are made of wood or bamboo, about one and a half meters long. You hang a large basket on each end of the pole, put the things you want to carry into the baskets, and then put the pole on your shoulder, and carry them to your destination. In those days, I always maximized my load, thinking that the heavier the load, the shorter I would get. But it was no use. Each time I measured myself I would find I was a little taller. It was terrible! All of my peers had stopped growing much earlier. I was the only poor guy who was still growing.

  Four years later, I was 188 cm.tall. Having celebrated my 23ed birthday, I thought it must be the end of my growing. But unfortunately, it was not. More than 30 years later, on my 55th birthday, I was surprised to find that I was 190 cm.tall!

  I didn’t know when I would ever stop growing,I still don’t know, and I am afraid I may never know... But, what I do know is that, today, in China, tall men club is growing fast, just like our toastmaster club, and no one looks at us with curious eyes any more. People don’t look at me like a rare animal, that look of envy is back on their faces. Now, I am enjoying being a tall man, and I will never ask the question:"when shall I stop growing taller".Never!  


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