Once upon a time there was a country called Bananaland or something which had lots of pubs. And everyone enjoyed going to the pubs. Fat people went to them, and thin people. Tall people and short people. Brown people and pink people. Red-haired people and yellow-haired people. Pipe-smoking people and cigar-smoking people. Men people and women people. Everyone was welcome. And for a long time everything went very well, and everyone was happy.
But then some of the short people started to complain. “Everything is made for tall people,” they said. “The bar is so high that we can’t see over it. And the tables are too high, and so are the chairs. When we sit on the chairs, our feet are dangling in the air. And as for the gents toilets, well, the less said about that the better. Have you ever tried peeing upwards?”
And other short people joined in and said, “We’re sick and tired of all those tall people looking down their noses at us. They think they’re so high and mighty, talking over our heads to each other. They think they own the place. They think we should look up to them, but they all need to be taken down a peg or two.”
And soon even more short people started saying, “And you can’t see a thing for tall people. They block the view. And when you walk past them, you’re quite likely to get an elbow in your face. I think they do it deliberately sometimes.”
“Everything is too high,” the short people said. “The bar is too high, the tables are too high, the chairs are too high, the ceiling is too high, the steps are too high.”
And they went to the King with a petition to make everything shorter. They explained that when things were too high, short people had lots of accidents falling off high chairs, falling down staircases, and so on. There was a “health and safety” risk, they declared.
So the King issued an edict to the pub landlords, telling them to make everything shorter.
And so the pub landlords sawed about a foot off the legs of all the chairs and tables, and lowered the bars and the pool tables and juke boxes. And they reduced the ceiling heights from ten feet to five feet. And they lowered the urinals and the steps and everything else too.
And they also made all the glasses and plates half the size they were before – although they charged the same prices for the new short measures as they had for the previous tall ones.
And when it was done all the short people were delighted. “It’s so cosy now that it’s not like an aircraft hangar. And when you sit down your feet are on the floor. And you can actually watch your drink being poured rather than just imagine it.”
But the tall people didn’t like it at all. When they went into a pub, they had to walk almost bent double. And when they sat down in the chairs, their knees came up to their eyes. And when they went to the gents, well, the less said about that the better. Have you ever tried peeing into a egg-cup from half way up a ladder?
And so the tall people took to standing outside, where the ceiling was as high as the sky. And one by one they stopped going to the pubs at all.
They said things like, “We just don’t like the pubs any more. Everything is too small now. We bang our heads against the ceilings all the time. And when we sit down, it’s nearly impossible to stand up again. It was much better in the old days. We feel like we’ve been expelled from society.”
And the short people said, “You tall people had everything your own way for a long time. Now it’s our turn. And you haven’t been expelled from society. There’s no law forbidding you from going into pubs. There’s no signs saying No Tall People Allowed or anything.”
And with all the tall people standing by the doors outside, the short people started complaining that it was now getting difficult to get into pubs because of all the tall people outside “looking down their noses at us.”
And the tall people said, “Why can’t we have short pubs and tall pubs? Or short rooms and tall rooms.”
And the short people said, “No, we want to be able to go into anywhere we like and sit down at tables that are our size. We don’t want to have to read a sign before we go in someplace.”
And the tall people started having Tall-Drinky nights in their own homes, where people could sit on tall chairs at tall tables in tall rooms, drinking tall drinks, and telling each other tall stories just like they used to do.
And the pubs started going bust, one by one, now that most of their tall customers had left, and that they’d effectively doubled the price of their drinks, and there were only a few shorties left drinking quarter pints of beer. And the tall people said, “It’s because of the tall ban, obviously.” And the short people replied, “No, it isn’t. It’s sooooo much nicer in the pubs now that everything is shorter, and when you can see across the room without lots of tall people getting in the way and deliberately elbowing you in the face. No, it’s because the supermarkets are selling tall drinks at half the price the pubs sell them. That, and the recession. Or something. And anyway, it’s not a ban.”
And so, whereas more or less everybody had been quite happy beforehand, including the middle-sized, neither-short-nor-tall people who hadn’t been bothered if everything had been ever-so-slightly too tall for them, now everybody was miserable, including the tall people and the middle-sized people, and the pub landlords. Only one or two short people remained pleased.
And when the King heard what had happened, he grew angry. “I was told that everyone would like things smaller, including the tall people. And I was told that when things got smaller, lots of short people would come to the pubs who never had before. And I was told that the pub trade wouldn’t be in the least bit affected, but would flourish as never before.”
“Clearly, I was lied to.”
And the King issued a new decree. He commanded that all the chairs and tables be restored not just to their previous heights, but to twice the height they were before. And the same with the bars and the steps and the urinals and the ceilings. And the glasses and the plates and the bottles and everything else too.
“And furthermore,” the King added. “Because the pub landlords charged the same prices for drinks and plates of food that were half the size they had been, they must now charge exactly the same prices for drinks and plates that are twice the size.”
And with that, all the tall people returned to the pubs with their not-quite-so-tall friends, and they enjoyed the half-price drinks and the half-price food, and everybody was happy again. In fact, they were all happier than they’d ever been.
Except for a few nasty little short people.
But nobody gave a damn about them any more. Including the King, who regretted ever having listened to the little bastards.
(This improbable story may have been inspired by this).