It was a few years ago that I began to notice that clothing manufacturers needed better quality control in marking sizes on men’s clothes, especially trousers.

I even considered buying a pair of suspenders to hold my pants high enough to keep me from constantly stepping on the hem of each pant leg.

One of my thoughtful daughters bought me a new set of Wrangler jeans to wear in our family group photo a few days after Thanksgiving.

I gave her my measurements, including the 32-inch inseam I had worn since college.

At her suggestion, I tried them on and quickly discovered another mismarked size on the inseam. Lo and behold, I had three inches of fabric below my feet.

My wife had been telling me over a period of several months that I seemed to be shorter in height than when she begged and pleaded with me to marry her in 1971.

I scoffed at her idea of me losing height. At that point, she led me into the laundry room where she measured our kids as they were growing up. She marked the spot on the door facing and then measured from the floor up.

I insisted on closely watching the procedure to make sure I was not being pranked. Lo and behold, I am two inches shorter than I had been throughout my adult life.

I recall reading that many folks do shrink as they grow older because the cartilage between their joints gets worn out and osteoporosis causes their spinal column to become shorter.

My thoughts went immediately to “The Incredible Shrinking Man”, a 1957 science fiction horror film about a man exposed to radioactive rays who eventually shrank to infinitesimal size.

My new doctor recently encouraged me to lose weight but I hope that is not what he has in mind.

Finally, I apologize to all vertically-challenged family members or friends who have been subjected to short-person jokes.

In my heart, I know all of you are really down-to-earth people.

(Keith Kappes can be reached at or by phone at 356-0912)

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