“I’m here to assist you in filling out your form,” said the guy behind the desk, “What’s your name?” he begun.
“Carl,” I replied.
“… and your surname?”
“Pardon?” he queried.
“It’s a long story. I know it’s a number, but I like it. It rolls off the tongue.”
I smiled, a bit nervously. He looked unmoved, and after a short pause returned to his paperwork. The guy wasn’t the Gestapo, but he wasn’t exactly full of fun, either. He was in the middle, I supposed.
“Its not often we get numbers for surnames, sir. That’s up to you, though,” he said without raising his head, “Can I have your title, please?”
“I guess I’ll go for Professor,” I replied, “I’ve always liked that.”
“Are you actually a professor?”
“Probably not in the way you mean, but I have professed things at various times here and there. I have professed to know a bit about this and that.”
“That’s as may be, but on a professional basis, are you a professor?”
“Er…no,” I admitted.
“Then you can’t ‘go for professor’.”
“Well, what are my options?” I asked.
“Usually you would tell us what your title is based on gender or age, like ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ or ‘Master’ or ‘Miss’, but professional achievements might mean you’re a doctor, or suchlike.”
“Can I be ‘Lord Thirtyone’”, I asked, more in hope than expectation.
“No, because that’s not yours to choose. That title is given to you by others. You’re not… “ he thought for a second or two, “… ‘entitled’”, he concluded with a smile. Maybe he was more towards the ‘full of fun’ end of the scale.
“Which others? “
“Why can’t I just deem myself to be Lord Thirtyone? ”
“Well, you can if you want, but you won’t actually in reality be a Lord. More importantly, it’s not going down on my form.”
The guy smiled.
I smiled back.
“It’s a free country, and I want to be Lord Thirtyone. No, in fact I’ve changed my mind … I want to be Reverend Thirtyone.”
The guy put his pen down and sat back in his chair. He looked me straight in the eye, without hint of humour. Any patience he had was leaving him. I thought to myself, ‘This guy clearly wants to finish off this bit of the form’.
“Carl. There are titles to which you are entitled and other titles to which you’re not. There are titles that don’t bestow anything notable or significant upon you, but the other ones that do – well they are in recognition of something, but recognition comes from those that have the title in their gift to give. You only get those if the givers give them. Other than that you’re not entitled.”
He sat forward to the form on his desk and picked up his pen again.
“I’ll put you down as a Mister. Now let’s get on to section two of twenty seven.”
“What time is it?” I asked…
Posted by Carl31