Vern stared into the mirror, concerned. His eyes glanced at the top of his head then to the space near the ceiling then to the top of the shower curtain.

No! Not today.

He straightened his back and glanced again, comparing – head, ceiling, shower curtain. Mirrors could deceive at times so it was hard to tell for sure.

I can’t call in again today. I was out last Tuesday.

He hurried to the walk-in closet. Straightening his back and neck, he stood next to the wall and moved closer until his nose touched the wall. He placed his hand over his head and against the wall then took a step back trying to hold his hand as still as possible. The measurement confirmed his suspicion.

No! Three inches?

He grabbed the pen from the nearby shelf and marked the spot on the wall, placing the date next to the mark. There were marks up and down the wall, each with a date beside them. Today’s was not the lowest, but it was a full three inches below Friday’s mark.

The weekends always seem to have a large impact, but three inches? That would be too noticeable. I’ve got to call in sick.

He tried to sound sick as he called his boss and explained he would not be coming to work. The problem was, he felt great. He had spent most of Saturday hiking Mt. Tornan with Jeremy and spent yesterday lounging around at the pool. The weekend had been the perfect mixture of exercise and relaxation.

But he knew that wasn’t the problem. The first time he noticed it he thought it was his imagination. Some days he seemed taller and some days he seemed shorter. He finally knew something was wrong the day he noticed that his pants – which fit fine a few days before – were a full inch too short. That was the first day he had marked his height on the wall in the closet.

That was almost six months ago. Since that time he had learned to monitor the issue. Searches on the Internet turned up no information about such conditions. He brought the issue up with his doctor once, but never mentioned it again after the doctor suggested that it was probably a perception caused by insecurity about his height. But Vern had never considered himself short. Five feet nine inches was an average height, right?

His next task was to start up the computer and check his blog stats – but he already knew what they would say. He thought last Friday’s post had been a good one. It was witty and informational. It wasn’t too long – maybe about 450 words. He hadn’t tweeted the links much this weekend because of the hike, so maybe that was the problem.

Sure enough, the charts and graphs showed a dip for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He pulled out the notepad in his desk drawer and noted the page views along with the amount of change in his height. He skimmed the list looking for any patterns. The changes in stature were not always in the same proportion to the change in blog traffic, but they were always in the same direction. High traffic meant he would grow – anywhere from a half inch up to the largest jump of four inches. Low traffic had the same effect, and with about the same range of variability.

His job now was to try to balance things back out. A good post today could get him back within an inch or two of his normal height. He had found that most people didn’t notice changes in that range. Anything beyond that would have people asking questions and he didn’t want that kind of attention.

Think! What can I write about that will get people’s attention?

He skimmed the post that he had written for today.

No. That’s not good enough. Too much like other posts.

He opened his browser and stared at the screen. He flipped a few pages in the notebook and reviewed his list of ideas. After about an hour of checking Facebook and Twitter and a hundred other distractions he stopped.

That’s it! That’s a great idea. This will get me back to normal.

 

16 thoughts on “A Little Problem”
  1. Chuck – that’s genius! We all make so much out of how people perceive us don’t we? We think if we’re being recognized by our peers or society we’ll be bigger somehow. God doesn’t care about graphs…

    I used to check the stats of mine regularly, to a fault. If that’s why we write then we’re missing the point. It’s been so long since I checked those graphs I’ve forgotten my password to get there… it just doesn’t matter.

    I’ve realized I have a handful of people I support and share with, not that there aren’t others I’d like to, I just don’t have time with family and work.

    It is nice to have people be honest with us about our endeavors, give us feedback. So I’ll give it to you straight… That was awesome!

    1. Thanks, Floyd. I’m really glad to hear you liked it because I almost didn’t post it. It never seemed to flow quite right. (Kind of ironic that I needed/craved some affirmation, given the topic of the story.) 🙂

  2. What a cool premise, and you did a great job with it! I just wonder what would happen if he posted a piece of clipart that turned out to be popular. (I had that happen, a post that usually would get around 100 views got over 4000.)

  3. Great fun post Chuck. 🙂

    If this were true, I would be six foot six from Friday to Sunday, and four foot three from Monday to Thursday. 😀

    I’m off to measure myself again…… 🙂

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