August 31st, 2004

Don’t ask why, but for some reason, I decided to look up Billy Barty, this morning. Here’s a filmography, official website, and the Billy Barty Foundation , from whence comes this excerpt:

I am a dwarf. This means I was born with a medically recognized condition that makes my body smaller than the average person’s. The name of my condition is Cartilage Hair Syndrome Hypoplasia, but you can just call me Billy.

Most of us with dwarfism prefer to be described as “Little People”. And please, put the emphasis on the word “People.” We did not spring from the pages of a storybook or emerge from an enchanted forest. We are not magical beings and we are not monsters. We are parents and sons and daughters. We are doctors and lawyers and realtors and teachers. We dream, cry, laugh, shout, fall in love, and make mistakes. We are no different from you.

Dwarfism is a condition that affects over 1.5 million people in the U.S. alone, and there are over 100 different types of dwarfism. Most Little People are born to families with no history of dwarfism. Even today, in the most open-minded and prejudice-intolerant society ever in recorded human history, people with dwarfism are still subjected to degrading stereotypes, societal barriers, and attitudinal barriers. We endure everything from job discrimination and reduced social opportunities to physical abuse and open public ridicule on a daily basis.

Okay, you want to know the truth? I was trying to track down an anecdote about the time when Barty was a member of the Spike Jones band, and would play the pair of pants that ran across the stage in Laura. I remember somebody talking about bumping into a pair of pants with a cigar sticking out of them, smoking….

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