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|Date of birth:||22 February 1918|
|Place of birth:||Alton, Illinois, USA|
|Died|| 15 July 1940 (aged 22) |
Manistee, Michigan, USA
died from blood poisoning
|Known for||Tallest man ever|
|Occupation||Circus giant and advertising gimmick against his will|
|Spouse||Couldn't attract females, inexplicably|
“It's not my fault that I am this way.”
“Who said it was your fault?”
“Meh. He was shorter than me, so I guess he was a dwarf...”
Robert Pershing Wadlow, also known as Robert "perishing" Wadlow (1918-1940), was the tallest man ever. (There may have been a taller guy other than Goliath, but no one has confirmed it.) He stood 8-foot-11, or 2.72 meters, which was not a good strategy for walking, voting, entering doors, or attracting females.
What was wrong with him?
Gigantism, also spelled giantism, is a (usually) deadly illness that is caused by an enlargement or a tumor of the pituitary gland. It starts in childhood or adolescence and results in extreme height. However, if the same illness starts in an adult, or worse, continues from the childhood illness, a freakier condition called acromegaly is the result. If you want to know what that looks like, look at Andre the Giant.
For this reason, the phrase "giant little boy" is NOT an oxymoron.
“Na, you wouldn't want to be tall. You wouldn't be able to have fun like other little boys.”
Wadlow was born in Alton, Illinois as the oldest of five otherwise irrelevant siblings. hehehehe, Alton. It sounds like the word for "tall" in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian: alto. Also, the same word in the Catalan language: alt. This may or may not be a coincidence. You be the judge.
Approximately eleventy billion childhood pictures of him being taller than his friends exist, courtesy of Captain Obvious. Apparently he was also interested in Hitler and everything to do with Germany, but then, he did live in a rather racist town.
At 13, Wadlow joined the Boy Scouts. Because he was 7-foot-1 (2.16 meters) by then, his uniform was custom made. Sad face. Later, he graduated from high school and then went to college for approximately three seconds (he wanted to be a lawyer), but then his father made him join the circus and that was the end of that. Also, eventually his shoes got so big that they were rather costly to make, so in exchange for basically being a gimmick, the shoe company would make his shoes for free. :(
In 1936, age 18, this one guy, a German doctor named Humberd, did a case study about him. (Suffice to say it gives us more information than we ever wanted to know.) Upon realising that Humberd was German, Wadlow asked him questions that basically amounted to:
However, his mom was not amused. So she sued him, claiming that Humberd insulted Wadlow's intelligence by saying that he was "apathetic." Needless to say, this lawsuit went nowhere. The courts ruled that everybody in the world is stupid; that is why we are called "humans." Therefore, no one's intelligence was actually insulted.
For the 4th of July, 1940, Wadlow was in the absurdly stupid "National Forest Festival" in Manistee, Michigan. (Seriously? A festival about forests? You must be joking!) Anyway, because his legs were freakishly long, he had to walk in leg braces. Furthermore, he couldn't feel his legs, so when his leg braces (somehow) made a blister, he did not even realize it had happened until he got blood poisoning and it was too late. He died in his sleep eleven days later, just 22 years old.