Posted by Dora Fletcher on November 29, 2000
I am quite confident that the phrase "short end of the stick" refers to an old fashioned method for carrying heavy objects. (this can be visualized using a bale of hay) a long stick is inserted through ropes or cords wrapped around the object and two (or more) people carry the object together. If the load is off-center a disproportionate burden is placed on the person(s) on the "short end of the stick".
See also: the meaning and origin of 'short end of the stick'.