As of man of below average height, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time at rock shows looking at the backs of other people’s heads. If I may slightly overdramatize for effect, the hopelessness a (short) rock show aficionado feels, standing in sea of noggins that are bopping above his own, is something like what a hiker caught in the forest after dark must feel, hearing distant sounds of running water or an occasional car passing on a lonely road, but having no idea how to reach the noise. I’ve looked up with envy on my friends who stand 5’10” or better, imagining what they must being seeing from those lofty heights in places like the Middle East Night Club. Embittered, I give up on watching the act and just get another beer.
Cut to the early part of the current century: I am informed by an extraordinarily tall friend of mine (whose height is really of no consequence here, but I mention it because, man, this guy is tall) of the impending appearance an old folk musician – name of “Bob Dylan” – in the Harvard basketball gymnasium. A wily veteran of rock show ticket lines such as myself (this was borderline pre-internet sales) of course managed to secure admission for 4, including the aforementioned tall guy. Then, I went to work on getting tall myself. Surgery is not my bag, and I had already schemed with a girlfriend in the 1990s to concoct an inflatable shoe. Having failed in that effort, I finally resolved to make use of the tools of false height that already existed: platform shoes. A four-inch platform would enable me to see the aging folk-rocker (or whatever you want to call Bob) perform songs that sound almost, but not exactly, unlike Bob Dylan songs1.
I was embarrassed beyond words when I first donned these and strolled across the JFK Street Bridge with my friends, but then I realized that no one really looks down at your shoes. Certainly not during a rock show. I have now worn these to 20 or so shows and wouldn’t dream of going to one (purposely) without them.
1Thanks to the late Douglas Adams for this, and other, clever phrases.