you label me, I label you

A few months ago, I was at the NYSC camp to give a training to the corpers. We were supposed to have breakout sessions so we had to look for places within the camp to hold smaller groups. I was walking around the camp, looking for spaces, assigning groups to the rooms we found. I walk past the orientation camp clinic, and open the door of the hall behind it. Inside, there was a row of bunk beds and a boy standing there. I turn to my colleague and I say, “We can’t use this room, this must be where the student doctors sleep.” Then we turn around and leave the room.
The boy comes bounding out of the room after us, calls out to me and says, “Excuse me, I didn’t finish four years of medical school to be called a student doctor.”


The hell!


I wasn’t even talking to him. I could call him a monkeyboy to my friends if I want. This probably isn’t the same guy who when he sees an accident will pull over in his fancy car and say, “Stand aside commoners, I am a dOC-tOR!”

Last weekend, I was at a wedding, and inside the programme (on page 5), there was a list of officiating ministers.
One of the listed ministers had been incorrectly titled as Pastor when he was actually a Reverend. I’m sure this must have been very heartbreaking for the man seeing as there were other Reverends on that list and he was being grouped with the lowly Pastors. To fix this, they crossed out the ‘Pastor’ in front of his name and handwrote ‘Reverend’ on top of it.
As the throng of people filed in for the wedding, each of them getting a programme, I kept randomly checking and every single programme was painstakingly corrected in the same handwriting. I couldn’t believe they had one person go through all this work in the midst of the wedding chaos.

I don’t know about the nuances of church titles so I don’t know how drastic this Pastor/Reverend switch thing was. I don’t know if meant the church police would have come to his house, beaten him up and taken his little reverend collar thing. Maybe he would now have to carry his own bible when going up to the pulpit. Or God would take away his miracle privileges and tell him, “Talk to my secretary, I don’t want to hear a peep out of you unless you are at least a Reverend.”

I do, however, know that the church title of ‘Elder’ is pretty pointless. If you are an elder, you should know better than to append that title to your name in your regular life. It just means you’re an old person in the church who can be approached for words of wisdom. I wouldn’t consider that an achievement worthy of a title, it should be the rule rather than the exception.
You are a grandpa who has been going to church for decades, how much more validation do you need to tell people that you dispense sensible advice? And if I had a problem with… pride, for example, would someone who flaunts the title of ‘Elder’ be the person to go to for help?

There isn’t anything other than the opinion of a small subset of people in a niche organisation to warrant you getting that title. If the people in my group in a class project called me the smartest man on earth, I wouldn’t start adding ‘SME’ to my name. That would be daft.


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