Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sometimes 'Mr.' Just Isn't Enough


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When I was a boy...
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Oh, here we go again, more reminiscing. Let me just find a comfy pillow and fluff up my duvet.
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When I was a boy, a doctor was a medical professional. He or she was legally qualified to stick me with needles; making me healthy, in essence, by hurting me. I had a reverential attitude toward the enigmatic doctors. Fear will do that to a child. When I saw 'Dr.' in front of a name, that meant that someone had done a lot of hard work and they had become an expert in their field. I felt that I should just shut up, listen and nod my head. For the most part, I was in awe.
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My father was known as Dr.Varty, having his PhD in entomology. I'm sure, as a child, I didn't understand what entomology meant, or that he wasn't a medical doctor. I probably just thought that he did medical procedures on june bugs, budworm and butterflies.
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'Code blue, we've got a dragonfly that's not breathing! Looks like blunt chest trauma...a hit and run by an Escalade. Someone call Dr.Varty, quickly.'
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When I meet someone for the first time and they're introduced as Dr. Soandso, my initial thought is 'I wonder if they're a medical professional or an academic' (assuming the two are mutually exclusive, as in Dr.Hughson's case). Of course this thought doesn't go through my head when I meet a doctor on the golf course; my thoughts are replaced by 'orthopaedics or radiology'?
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I wish that I could call myself Dr.Varty. I used to be Dr.Varty during the dark ages (late 1980s) when I was gainfully employed at Tilley Endurables in Toronto. I once received a letter, at work, addressed to Dr.Ian Varty. We all had a good chuckle, and I was called Dr.Varty by my colleagues for some time. My residency at Tilley Endurables lasted for only one year, but what an impact that year had on my life. Oddly enough, a decade after I left Tilleys, the receptionist was still referring to me as Dr.Varty. I guess I made an impression, particularly in the audiology department (more on this later).
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Titles are really interesting, at least to people who live in Cambridge-Narrows, write blogs and have limited social contact with the outside world. It would be pretty cool to have earned the title of doctor, though I can think of a few titles that I'd rather have.
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There is some appeal to being called 'King', though associations with Elvis and MJ muddy that marriage. It sounds pretty impressive if you're known as Prince. Prince Ianardo sounds better than Dr.Ianardo. Michael Jackson, the former King of Pop, named both his sons, Prince Michael, more or less. I wonder what Queen Latifah thinks of all this? Royalty, ultimately, is overrated; besides, I look terrible in a crown.
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Are you referring to your surprise 40th birthday bash that we held at Burger king, Ian?
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I'd rather not talk about that...the hurt has yet to subside.
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You're talking about the paper cut on your ear, no doubt? Darned close to being regicide! Who'd have thought a paper crown could be so deadly? You should have sued Burger King and brought that business down. If nothing else, you might have won a whopper of a settlement.
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Successful business people have some of the craziest titles attached to their names. Once you become a billionaire, you've got it made. You can be a potato magnate (Wallace McCain), media mogul (Sir Max Achin', aka Lord Beaverbreath), lumber baron (K.C.Irving), or an all-knowing business tycoon (dennis h. hails). You can be so toxically omnipresent that you don't need a title, other than 'The' plus your first name, i.e. Donald. Oprah doesn't bother with such formality.
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Do any of the aforementioned names come as a surprise? Are any foreign to you? How about dennis h. hails, all in lower caps. You've never heard of him, right? They say that it's not nice to speak ill of the dead, so I'll temper my comments. When I worked at Tilley Endurables in 1989, Alex Tilley inherited a business partner by the name of dennis h. hails. Their legendary partnership, a ship which ultimately sank, could easily be the basis for an opera or miniseries.
dennis h. hails was, hmmm, how to phrase this tactfully....
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Be careful, Ian!
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dennis h. hails was quite a 'story' teller, not unlike Hap Shaughnessy from the Red Green show. Some of his stories were quite marvelous, like the time that he was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, before the draft existed. Some tales didn't always add up, others were just outright preposterous. dennis was quite a character, wearing a massive pinky ring which contained some sort of gem.
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I believe it was the Star of India, Ian.
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No, I think it was a diamond and not a sapphire.
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It must have been the Hope diamond.
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Yes, likely. dennis h. hails told one of my co-workers that the ring had been given to him by a Sultan!
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Incredible. It almost makes you want to burn your underwear, do three cartwheels and then shovel out the earwax with an excavator, but that's what he said!
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Once, during a lunchtime break at Tilleys, I went to the mall to purchase some now forgotten item, possibly a noose. While there, I happened to see a parabolic ear, which I couldn't resist. I returned to work and proceeded to eavesdrop on my boss's conversations, much to the delight of my chortling co-workers. This went on for months. I, Dr.Varty, headed up the audiology department at Tilleys. I couldn't really hear much with the twenty dollar device, but it made me a rock star within the office.
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Magnate, mogul, tycoon, baron, the Donald, Oprah, VIP, big cat, big cheese, big cheese, big fish, big gun, big gun, big man on campus, big wheel, big wheel, bigwig, bigwig, Blair Cummings, dignitary, fat cat, head honcho, heavy-hitter, heavy-hitter, heavyweight, high man on the totem pole, high-muck-a-muck, important person, influential person, leisurologist, nabob, notable, personage, rock star.
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None of these titles can come close to Sultan. If I had to choose one for myself, other than Sultan, I'd probably take Nabob. I'd be happy to be called either Nabob or Sultan. Sadly, I only have a self-bestowed honorary doctorate in Leisure Studies with which to doctor my name. It has lead to some confusion, as you might imagine....
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To the family who brought in the dragonfly: my dad and I managed to stabilize its breathing and we expect a full recovery. I didn't really do much. I just monitored the pulse, from twenty feet away.

2 comments:

  1. Ah ... anyone can proclaim himself a doctor, no big deal. Proof ? I did for a while. Get your Qu├ębecois French dictionnary before you go there and have fun.

    http://windsurfing.qc.ca/drbgood.php

    This might actually help you to leisure better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tilley hats are made for walking as they are hard wearing and flexible. You can scrunch them up and keep them in your pocket until you want to wear them and they can be tied on so there is no risk of a sudden gust of wind blowing your Tilley hat away.
    tilley hats

    ReplyDelete