Thursday, November 30, 2006


Does the name Robert Wadlow mean anything to you? Not to me either, but I remember some of the pics I have seen of him over the years (I just did not know his name). The pic I have linked to is "Work Safe"; on the back of the card was the inscription, by someone who attended one of his shoe promotions:

I seen Robert in Purcell.
Age 22 — weight 491
Height 8 feet 9 inches
Weight at birth 8 1/2 lb.
Weight at 6 mo 30lb
Weight at 18 mo 62lb
Weight at 9 years 180
Height at 9 years 6ft 1in.
Size of shoe 37A

You see, Robert Wadlow was the tallest man in the world. He has a disease known as acromegalic gigantism, resulting from a pituitary cancerous growth. He died at 22, not directly because of the disease, but indirectly from it. You see, this large man spent a lot of time on the road, selling shoes. That was his job.

Ironically, one might say he died indirectly because of mis-fitting shoes. You see, because of his height (and weight), he had little feeling in his feet. And at times, he would get blisters on his feet. He got blisters and an infection because of this, and he died of "blood poisoning." So the tallest man in the world, because of his job as a shoe salesman, died. Strange.

When I was in school, we learned about the tallest man in the world, the heaviest man in the world, the man with the largest mustache. Joe Brower Minnoch was the heaviest man in the world, but he seems to be heavier than I remember. Not that I ever met him. I found a site that had him weighing in at a bulky 635 kg (100 stone). That is 1,397 pounds! He lost lots of weight after being admitted to a hospital in or near Seattle, something more than 400 pounds. Now this was before surgery – the man dieted. What a feat! I am trying to loose 20 pounds, and this man lost 20 squared!

I don't have much today, but I was thinking about heaviest/tallest/whatever. I grew up with the Guinness Book of World Records, and it was important, for whatever reason. Okay, I am a grown up now, but I don't hear anything about it, other than a bit about kooky records.


Leesa said...

Actually I did know the name :)
I used to love to read the Guinness Book of World Records.

~Deb said...

I remember when they showed this to us in school about the tallest man. I also saw something on the discovery channel about what makes them like that. It's fascinating. I didn't know that he had some blood disease due to his shoes not fitting right. Hmm.

The whole Guinness Book of record is crazy! Have you seen that Indian man with finger nails about 20 ft long that curl up? EEEK! Can you imagine how much bacteria is under those nails of his? My OCD cringes of the thought!!!

Bruce said...

I recognized the name immediately. In my younger days, I was obssessed with the Guinness Book of World Records. And not too long ago, there was a program on A&E or National Geographic, or one of those learning channels, about him.

KYCM said...

Used to be one of my favorite readings.....much like your blog is now. If i miss a day, i always make sure i read all of them until i am current. Thanks for your words Leesa and nice to know I wasn't weird for reading "Guiness"


Anonymous said...


Size 37 Shoes. Poor guy :( I wear size 14 and I get a headache looking for shoes.

I had the luxury of meeting Andre The Giant a few times during his stay on this planet, he suffered of a disease similar to the one Mr Wadlow suffered from. I must admit, even though he was this mountain of a man, who litterally made a pint a beer look like a thimble in my hand, he was one of the nicest individuals that I have been blessed to have met. Kind hearted, dealt with a lot of pain both physical and mental due to the criticism from the public on a daily basis, but he never once complained about either during my time with him. R.I.P. Mon Ami :)

I can imagine Robert most likely dealt with the same issues. It's amazing how often we take things for granted. Thanks Leesa for reminding me of one of my great moments of my life.



Leesa said...

leesa: you are so smart, sweetie.

~deb: I forgot the finger nail guy. As I recall, he was from India as well. Guess some people from India let their nails and hair go.

bruce: I was not obsessed, but I did like reading it.

kymc: thanks, sweetie.

pyth0s: wow. What a neat story.