Sure, they count supermodels and basketball stars among their kin. But tall people's lives aren't always a walk in the clouds.

Just ask 6-feet-3 Joan Carruthers--or any of her 200 peers at this year's Tall Clubs International convention near Pittsburgh.

"Try doing the dishes on a regular basis when the sink only reaches your thighs," said Carruthers, whose 6-10 husband has to hunch even farther.

The five-day Tall Clubs event, which runs through Sunday, offers participants a chance to socialize, share their woes and urge businesses to do such things as reduce prices on custom clothing and shoes. Over the years, the group has called for longer hospital beds, more leg room on planes and bigger cars.

"Car shopping is 'Can I fit in it?' " Carruthers said.

"Who cares what it looks like?" added Jan Bjornson, her husband.

Tall people also have larger organs, which is why the club urges members to designate themselves as transplant donors. The group also sponsors scholarships for tall young people.

Tall Clubs began with a young woman named Kae Sumner, an artist for the Disney studios who got "tired of hitting her knees on the table," Carruthers said. In 1938, Sumner wrote a newspaper column about the problems of being tall, inviting others to contact her.

The California Tip Toppers Club was founded, and other groups sprang up around the country. Tall Clubs International has become the umbrella group, with 4,500 members in North America.

And no short people are allowed: Women must be 5-10 and men must be 6-2 to join.

"It sure makes you comfortable in your own skin," Carruthers said of the club.

It's also great support in a world full of jabs at tall people. When people ask Carruthers if she plays basketball, she asks if they play miniature golf.

While there are some laughs, group members say the need for better accommodations for tall people is serious.

For example, when Sandy Allen, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's tallest woman, arrived at the Pittsburgh airport for the convention, she had to get down on the plane's floor, scoot out backward and leave via a hydraulic catering lift.

"If I had to go to the bathroom on that plane, forget it," she said. At 7 feet 7 3/4 inches, she uses a wheelchair because of poor circulation, atrophied leg muscles and other health problems.

As a teenager, she was teased by boys and ignored by girls. Now, she talks with youngsters to offer a hopeful message: "It's okay to be different. The people who stand back and point at me, they're the ones I feel sorry for."

There's just one thing she really wishes for: a pair of pantyhose that fit. "Thigh highs--they don't even come above my knees," she said.