What does it mean to sit at the short end of the table?
Depends on the table.
At a meeting the short-end sitter runs the show, barks orders, assigns the guidelines, and signatures the deals. The face of the company, the voice of the workers, smiles confidence and winks authority. The chairman would not be sitting at the short end if it were not for the mail-room-clerks, secretaries and operators of all things inconsequentially important. Memos of power are delivered by little people. Sitting at the sides the others bask in the glow of power or dress green in envy. In business the seat at the short end is a tenuous one unless, of coarse, toady’s bolster position and protect the leader.
At home, sitting at the short end of the table is the head of the household, the money maker, rule setter, the bill payer and enforcer of all things family. Usually it is the husband, father, the alpha-male, who covets throne sitting, but wait. Sometimes he is cleverly placed at the short end by the real pack-leader, the one who convinces him his place within the society of family is at the head but that is not so. She, who sits at the long side has room to spread her wings in protection of operation within the fold. She lets him think he is the God but she knows the difference between reality and idealism. His position is moot, hers is of purpose, because she realizes tables have two short ends and the other one is hers no matter where she sits.