BEING A MAN of average height, I've always envied the advantages that come with being tall.

Tall people are the first to get noticed, and thus get first pick of the hottest babes. Tall people are assumed to be worthy of leadership. That's why they're always in line for promotions. Best picks from the apple tree? Tall people. Top-shelf liquor? Tall people. Most likely to get the last American Girl doll at the Black Friday riot? You guessed it. Tall people.

I've always wanted my children to have the best in life, so, in addition to working hard to provide them with food, shelter and creature comforts, I've always hoped they'd get the tall gene from my dad's side of the family. From what I can see, those hopes are coming true.

But you know what they say: Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

What's the problem with having tall kids, you ask? Nothing if you don't mind having a perpetual leak in your wallet.

At 13, Eve is already taller than her mother. That means that Eve shops in the ladies' section, which might be bearable if she had a job. Alas, she does not, and because Eve has champagne taste and Kool-Aid money, her shopping trips often leave me feeling more like James Evans from "Good Times" than George from "The Jeffersons."

And speaking of moving on up, Little Solomon, at just 10, is now wearing man-size jeans.

I learned that this past weekend, when I took him to the mall for burgers, fries and shakes at our favorite diner. I figured we'd eat and take a side trip to the Lego Store, where I'd endure a half-hour of snot-nosed kids in a hell made of interconnected blocks.

After that we'd come home. No muss. No fuss. No shopping.

Unfortunately, I made the error every husband should avoid like the plague. When my wife called I told her I was at the mall.

At first I thought I'd gotten away with it. I thought she'd spare me the honey-do list that would take me to places like Victoria's Secret and Bed Bath & Beyond.

She had something even more sinister in mind.

"Solomon's outgrowing his jeans," she said. "Could you take him to Old Navy and see what size he wears?"

"Sure!" I said. But on the inside, I was chanting "Woo-Sah," breathing in deeply as I prepared for the one thing I'd hoped to avoid - shopping.

After we ate our burgers, I tried to make the best of it. We played Madden at the Microsoft kiosk and played with a $129 remote-control ball in a novelty store. We sat in those mall massage chairs in an effort to relax.

Eventually we walked into Old Navy, where men like myself sat at picnic-table displays wearing looks of utter defeat. Determined to avoid a similar fate, I did what I could to get out quickly.

Flying to the boys' section, I told Solomon to try on three pairs of jeans. None of them fit, so I plucked a few pairs from the men's section, walked him to the dressing rooms and waited for the inevitable news.

"Size 30 feels good," he said.

Those were the only jeans that could fit over his powerfully built thighs and butt.

I shook my head in despair, but then, as I plunked down $60 for two pairs of jeans, I got to thinking: Solomon is going to be both big and tall, and somebody's going to have to pay for his clothes. Since the Eagles are getting rid of their offensive linemen . . .

"You need to work on your blocking," I said. "With those thighs, you'd make a great guard."

"But I want to be a quarterback."

"You could be that, too," I said.

As long as you make enough money to pay for those man-size clothes.