Civil Rights (aka “The Short, Stubby People Song”) (1992)

Listen to the Grand Rapids live performance:

I’d like to say a word about short stubby people
We must relieve their suffering, it must be done today
We’ve got to advocate for those poor short stubby people
It’s not entirely their fault that they turned out that way
Now, believe it or not, friends, I speak from experience
For I once was short and stubby, too
But then I saw the error of the way that I was living
I just decided to be taller and my new life had begun
Lest you put this on the shelf, just ask this question of yourself
How would you feel about it if your sister married one?
(Our motto needs to be “Love the short; hate their shortness.”)

And let me add a word about bald-headed people
This discrimination has simply got to end
No more making fund of those poor bald-headed people
(You know, in the Bible, a group of boys is making fun of the prophet Elisha for being bald, and the prophet calls two bears out of the woods and they tear the boys limb from limb. 1 Kings chapter 2, verses 23 and 24. “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”)
Now believe it or not, friends, I speak from experience
For I once was bald-headed too
But then I saw the error of the way that I was living
I went and joined a hair club; soon my locks will flow again
And for added credibility it’s my responsibility
To point out that bald people are among my dearest friends
(We prefer the term “folically challenged.”
I am bald… but non-practicing.)

How dark and dreary life was ’til I opened up my eyes
And realized I didn’t have to bear these burdens all my life
But now I’m tall and svelte, my golden hair waves in the breeze
And I’m here to share the secret of becoming just like me

Let me close with a word for all you people who are different
Now, I’ll admit that different people have a right to live
But with a pull of your bootstraps you can surely overcome it
Our great American smelting pot has got so much to give
Now believe it or not, friends, I speak from experience, for I once was different, too
But my differences kept me from climbing the ladder
What good is being different if it makes your life so hard?
And just because I don’t agree with you, it’s okay if I am seen with you
Long as I’m not confused with you, we’ll do lunch… here’s my card
(And remember: I won’t ask if you won’t tell…)

Copyright ©1996, 1992 by Lee Krähenbühl / Found Space Music. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. Permissions:

Composed: Elgin, Illinois, Fall 1992

First public performance: Highland Avenue Coffeehouse, Elgin, Illinois, Spring 1993

Notes: Recorded by Carl Hordyk at Calvin College Fine Arts Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 10, 1996. Listen for the audience’s confusion after the line “I am bald… but non-practicing.” They’re looking around the auditorium at each other for permission to laugh. This was over two decades ago; hopefully they’ve given themselves permission by now.


Lee Krähenbühl, Thirsty (1994)

David Frantz and Lee Krähenbühl, Love Unexplored (1996)

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