I Need a Better Title by Jan. 30


I’m running in the Susan Komen race to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. I figured it was more effective than posting the color of my bra on the Internet, or buying the pink oven mitt. (Who knew fighting cancer could be so colorful?) Plus I’m running again, so pulling off 5 kilometers should be easy, even for a middle-aged excuse-factory like myself.

When you register for the race, there is a long column of possible titles to place before your name. I was forced to pick the same Ms. that I always do.  (We need to get somebody to come up with a new title for a woman who is or isn’t married and wants you to know that she doesn’t care if you know it. The thrill of slapping some misogynist across the face with a big old Ms. is so 1970. Even Phyllis Schlafly uses it now.)

I was tempted to pick a more adventurous and exciting title. I scrolled through the possible courtesy titles and wondered if anyone would notice if I was a Commander or Captain or General. There was even an Admiral.

Then there were a slew of religious titles. I could have been Father Diane Laney Fitzpatrick.  Or Monsignor, Mother, Elder, Brother, Deacon or Chaplain.  I could have been the Rt. Rev. Diane Laney Fitzpatrick. Now that has a righteous edge to it. I think I could take a minute or two off my time with that behind me.

I could have been Prof., Sen., Sister, or the Hon. (As I’m going over the list, I’m feeling about as uneducated and unaccomplished as when I went to a meeting of a charitable organization I got involved in and we went around the room and introduced ourselves and told what we did for a living and after hearing how people were all “lawyer,” “physician,” and “professor,” my claim that I had been able to successfully adjust the rack on my dishwasher to accommodate the wine glasses last year set women back 50 years.)

I only have a bachelor’s degree and I don’t hold a single certificate except for the one that proves I walked up the 311 steps of The Monument in London. And as much as I hate when people put a string of letters after their names (here’s a blog about it as proof), I wouldn’t mind rocking a title  to impress the other runners.

The folks at Komen must be expecting some real power couples to participate in these races.  You can register jointly as Ambassador and Mrs., Bishop and Mrs., Dr. and Rev., Rabbi and Mr., the Right Rev. and Mrs., and all possible combinations.

I could have chosen Cantor, but I think there may have been a vocal audition for that one.

My favorite, though, is HRH.  Doesn’t that stand for Her Royal Highness or His Royal Highness? I know it’s a long shot, but on race day I’m keeping my eyes peeled for Queen Elizabeth. She’ll be the one wearing the pink oven mitt as a hat.



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