Why I’m 5′ 8″

My mom’s mom is under five feet tall, and my dad’s mom is from the Philippines. So genetically, that probably explains why I’m pushing the lower end of average among American men.

But this post’s about more than genetics.

See, in America, we round to the nearest inch, unless you’re my mom, who’s 4′ 11 and 3/4″. When it comes to height, though, rounding to inches isn’t all that precise. So you have a choice: round up to say you’re taller than you technically are, or round down to reverse that.

Most guys round up. In fact, if you’re a man who says he’s 5′ 8″, I’m probably taller than you because you rounded up. But if you’re a woman who’s 5′ 8″, you’re probably taller than me because you can wear heels.

But even if you do stand exactly 5′ 8″ with no shoes or socks on, I’m still taller than you because I rounded down. Technically, I’m closer to 68.75″.

Jesus told this story of a guy walking into a dinner and grabbing the best seat. “Ah, man, better take the worst seat first,” Jesus said. “What if the host notices you and says he’s saving that seat for someone special? Then you got to move and look all stupid. If you take the worst seat first, then you don’t look stupid if you have to move – you look special, in a good way.”

I kind of take the same approach with height. I hedge against expectations. I say I’m 5′ 8″, and if I have to update that to be more accurate, I come out taller.

But really this’s about more than height. Who really cares how tall anyone is, much less how tall I am? I mention it here more as a allegory for things more important.

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