2014, St Anton, Tash Talk

WHEN I GROW UP I WANNA BE SNOW WHITE

St Anton, Austria

I have a fascination with midgets, and I don't mean certified little people, I mean borderline: generally hovering around the 150cm mark (to get the piece of paper you need to be 147cm).

I am not sure when it all started, but a while back someone stopped me in a bar as I was on my way to the bathroom (the Jagermeister was not agreeing with me), and wanted to simply have a chat. Due to my level of inebriation I declared that I did not do Midget Porn, and moved along. As this vertically challenged man of Irish extraction was a friend of a friend, I found out that he was somewhat offended, and that apparently Leprechauns have feelings too.

My next encounter was a few years later, when a likeable chap who I swear I had never seen before approached me and told me that I owed him an apology. "What for?" I asked. Apparently I was very rude to him the night before. I informed him that I had been rather drunk and could remember very little and perhaps he could jog my memory. "You called me an angry ginger midget" he said. All I could do was burst out laughing, declare that that was hilarious, I could not apologise for that, and give my drunk self a high five. That was when I realised I had a problem.

From that day forth, I thought it were best that I let the short people make the first joke about their height and take it from there. Or alternatively high five them and watch them try and jump. Understanding these people, and acknowledging that they are just like normal people, only little, has paid dividends, as in the last few years I have made many friends of the vertically challenged variety. Six to be precise.

Of course the first one is the Angry Ginger Midget, and then my second little friend was Gordy. With much willpower, I refrained from patting his head and saying hilarious things such as, "Oops, sorry, I didn't see you there," for at least two weeks. It wasn't easy, especially when I tripped over him, but soon we established a solid friendship fuelled by booze, and such banter came naturally.

On one occasion when he and the Angry Ginger Midget were having a beer together I managed to exercise decorum and restraint by not saying anything (that would just be rude). But they understood, and knew how hard it was for me, so when the Angry Ginger Midget said what I was thinking, "No, it is not a midget convention." I saw it as a reward for working so hard at biting my tongue. It was then that I began dreaming of having seven of them in the same place at the same time.

Number three, Joseph, is the chef at my work. I have always been nice to people in the kitchen as they are more likely to give you scraps. Even though Joseph does not speak English unless he is drunk, we manage to communicate to the extent that I can articulate what I would like for lunch and we can make bets on Ski Racing. He calls me Old Hen and I call him Rumpelstiltskin.

Then there is the Rolling Monkey who has amazing dexterity in the cigarette rolling department. I ask him to roll me a cigarette, he does so and then taxes me a little tobacco. Once he asked if I knew his name, and I said, "Of course I do, it is rolling monkey". He is wonderfully useful, as is his partner in crime, a Danish man who, when wearing a certain hat resembles a Garden Gnome. He spends his day waving a towel for naked Sauna patrons in a ritual called "Aufguss" I don't think he wears the hat anywhere whilst he does it.

But my personal favourite is Craig. I call him Craig because he merrily morphs from a scampering piss head to a podium dancing Oompa Loompa in a matter of minutes, He will do anything for a shot of Jagermeister, and does not even flinch when I make him jump for it. In fact, he often comes back for more. Funnily enough the more Jagermeister I give him, the more willing he is to do tricks. Gyrating Oompa Loompa's are definitely a crowd pleaser.

Then at an end of season BBQ it happened. All five remaining vertically challenged men  (Gordy had sadly left the village) were in the same place at the same time, and at the perfect level of drunkenness where they could pose for a photo without puking on my shoes.

Two more and world domination is mine!