“Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title.”

It’s a typical Cape Cod spring day at 50°, and I doubt it will get much warmer. It’s a pretty day with lots of sun and only a slight breeze. I slept in this morning which always makes me wonder if my neighbors think I’m lying unconscious on the floor as the paper is still in the driveway at ten o’clock. Even Gracie and Fern didn’t stir until I did and both are having their morning naps right now.

When I worked, I was up at 5 or 5:15 at the latest. My paper was seldom in the drive-way that early so I used to drink my coffee, read or watch the morning news. I’d get dressed at 6 and leave by 6:20 for my ten minute ride to work. The paper was usually delivered by then, and I’d throw it in the car to read when I got home which was usually around 4 o’clock. After thirty-three years of that, I earned sleeping-in.

A rooster was my alarm clock in Ghana. I never needed a real alarm. I went to bed early and woke up early. I had no newspaper to read so I’d sit on my front porch, drink my coffee and watch the small boys and girls walk by my house to their primary school just outside the front gate of my school. They’d stop to greet me. I was always sir, “Good morning, sir. How are you, sir?” The smallest of them were just learning English, and I figured sir was part of their dialogues. Madam would come later as that was what I was called in Ghana, Madam Ryan.

My titles have morphed over time. In Ghana, I was madam even to the women working in the market though sometimes a seller called me miss to draw my attention to her wares. “Miss, Miss,” I’d hear shouted at me as I walked by the stalls. When I got home and started teaching here, it was Miss Ryan to my students. As times changed so did my title. I became Ms. Ryan, but the miss was still around and used mostly by salespeople who didn’t know my name, “Thank you, miss.” they’d say as they handed me my bag. Now I am ma’am which is the shortened version of madam. It seems I have come full circle.

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22 Comments on ““Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    The New York Times
    “Slanting rain and a vicious wind sent ripples and eddies across the puddles forming outside Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Workers spilled out of two satellite television trucks, ferrying cables and cameras into the stadium to prepare for what could be the most anticipated match in Premier League history.
    On Monday, those cameras will broadcast the game between Manchester United and Manchester City to 650 million homes in 203 territories.”

    “El Manico” (Thank you Daily Telegraph) will kick off at 3.00 pm EST with coverage on ESPN and I will be……………..at my desk. This match will likely determine the destination of the Premier League for the year as the trophy finds a home in the stadium of one of two hated rivals.

    Tottenham won on Sunday against a pathetic Blackburn Rovers team which will be deservedly relegated at the end of the season. I will track the match tonight through bbc.co.uk or, if I am lucky might find an internet feed. Southampton is returning to the premier league next year which means a modest increase in revenues of $145M.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I would think a horrid disease would descend upon you around 1 or 2 o’clock which would mean leaving for immediate treatment.

      It would be my suggestion that the cure include watching a match at 3:00 p.m. That should clear any lingering symptoms!

      • Hedley Says:

        One of my young friends (aren’t they all young at this stage) is doing exactly that and heading home for the TV.
        My buddy Dan, from Dorking Grammar School days, is retiring today, and his suggestion of dinner out was immediately rejected by his wife, who is a Manchester United fan, like everyone else !

        The turkey sandwich that I ate at my desk is not sitting well, and my little silver car is calling me !!!!!

    • olof1 Says:

      I cross my fingers for City!

      • Hedley Says:

        Christer..anyone but Manchester United (or Arsenal or Liverpool). Hope you can settle in with a cold beer and see the match. i have the pregame going on the BBC

    • olof1 Says:

      I’m afraid I don’t have the channel that shows the match, otherwise I would watch it.

  2. olof1 Says:

    My days start much the same as Your used to do. The paper comes just I drive to work and even if it had come earlier I doubt I would go and get it, I have around 120 yards to my mailbox 🙂 🙂

    We haven’t used any titles here in decades. they stopped doing that around 1967 and it was called the you reform. After that no one use titles, except for when it comes to the royal house.

    So I never called my teachers for anything than their first name and it is the same with every boss I’ve ever had 🙂 Much easier that way.

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      Calling teachers by their first names would be considered disrespectful here. There is supposed to be a line between teachers and students and the Mrs. or Mr. is part of that line.

      My Ghanaian students, some of whom were older than I, would always call me Madam Ryan. Even now, when they are in their 50’s and 60’s, I can’t get any of them to call me by my first name.

      • olof1 Says:

        Its actually disrespectful not to use the first name here. By saying Mr, Mrs or miss or any other kind of title is to make a distance to the one You’re talking to. That sort of depersonalizes the one You’re talking to. It’s fun how different we see this 🙂

  3. sprite Says:

    The worst year I had delivering newspapers was eighth grade, because my homeroom/English teacher was one of my customers. I knew that if I didn’t get her paper to her before she left for work I’d hear about it. (Even though she was never unkind, it was still mortifying.)

    • katry Says:

      I understand how you must have felt! My paper person is an adult in a car, and I haven’t the hold on her your teacher had, without being aware, on you. I survived but I really did miss my newspapers!

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My working day used to start about the same way except that I would have to be at work by 6:30AM. I used to take both Boston papers and both would normally be on my porch by 5:30AM (those were the days). My Jack Russell Terrier would routinely shred the Globe and ignore the Herald. I’m not sure if it was a comment on the quality of either paper or the dog’s lack of affection for the Globe delivery person.
    My titles didn’t change much. Miss to Ms. Ma’am is much later and falls painfully upon my ear as it is usually said with a “tone” and makes me feel older than I want to feel. Except in Texas where we are all respectfully Ma’am so it doesn’t feel so bad.
    It was time for the jeep to get inspected. After a small kerfuffle with the emergency brake which threatened rejection, all went well and Slick is good for another year. I hate inspection.
    Cool and sunny up here. Enjoy your day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I was always at work by 6:30 as well, but I was generally the second person in the building because it was so early. I went then because I loved the quiet when I organized my day.

      Luckily I never had shredders except for a cat who shredded my toilet paper.

      When I had old cars, I always held my breath during inspection time, but I never had a problem. There was a place where even a car you had to push into the garage would pass inspection. It eventually got closed down to the chagrin of many.

  5. Hedley Says:

    Comcast rules !
    I can log in to ESPN3 via my comcast account and there you go, at my desk, staring at a computer and it has nothing to do with Real Estate

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I feel better knowing you did not miss the game. In a round about way, real estate is part of the game!

  6. Hedley Says:

    Ha ! Even NBC World News covered it. Brian Williams announcing that 650 million stopped working to watch it..City won 1-0

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Thank you for the final score!

    • Bob Says:

      Another thrilling 90 minutes of running up and down the field to score only one goal. Imagine how much more fun it would be if they could use their hands.

      • katry Says:

        I watched nine innings of baseball the other night, and the score was 1-0. Pitchers’ duels always are boring to say the least.

        My nephew got a full scholarship to play division 1 soccer at Oregon State. We love soccer in m family.

      • olof1 Says:

        Bob we call it Handball when we use our hands 🙂

    • olof1 Says:

      I’m happy 🙂

      • Hedley Says:

        Christer, me too, City were deserved winners and the last two games of the season should be terrific.

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