February 2011

Senior Slant:
An Untitled Person

by Hilda Maston

I worked hard to earn my title (Mrs.) and in my twilight years I never get to hear it. I no longer get the satisfaction of being addressed as a grown-up person.

Our whole society has stopped using titles of address! The kids call their teachers by their first names. (Can you imagine what would have happened to us had we tried that?) The minister is no longer Reverend but Bob or Sally or Joe. The doctor who worked long and hard to earn that title gets called by his first name or the overly friendly “Doc.”

I am just one person but I can see what this is doing to my dignity. Here is what happened to me in just one day.

At 9 a.m. I am on my way to the grocery store. So far, so good. The checker doesn't know my first name so I get “ma'amed.” That's O.K. with me.

Next stop, the Post Office. The clerk glances at the return address on my package and says, “Here's your change, Hilda, have a nice day.” This is from a young man who doesn't know me from Adam (or Eve, for that matter).

Off to the bank. I ask the teller to cash a check and give me a ten and two fives.

“Of course, Hilda, here you are.” I had been to the bank only a few times and didn't know the teller but she called me by my first name!

Next stop, the doctor's office where the nurse said, “Step up on the scales, Hilda.” Again, I have seen the nurse once or twice, but didn‟t even dream we were on a first-name basis.

By the time I got to the pharmacy I'd just about had it. The pharmacist joined the rest of the world by asking if “Hilda” had any questions. See what I mean?

Even a person as elevated as a judge gets called by her first name. You've heard of “Judge Judy” haven't you?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm as friendly as the next old lady, but there is friendly and there is familiar, and familiar means I get no respect.

Don't you agree? Mary? Joan? Tom? Bob?

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