Sometimes best to remain untitled

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Completing an application form is a chore I dread. It’s like sitting next to a small child who can’t stop asking questions.

And it irks me that there is so little space for your answers.

Unless your name is Bob and you are under the age of 12 then you will find yourself trying to write with the aid of a large magnifying glass like those Chinese men who for €5 will write your name on a grain of rice.

When completing the section marked ‘Title’ I am often tempted to put Duchess or President or Witch Finder General.

This to some extent is exactly what Matthew Hopkins did during the English Civil War. The puritanical Hopkins announced his new title to parliament and then ‘legged’ it before they could denounce him.

Given that Cromwell was a bit distracted at the time he is not to be blamed (except perhaps by the women who failed Hopkins’ ‘Float Test).

During his reign as Witch Finder, Hopkins managed to cast 300 witches back to hell from whence they allegedly came (the fact that most were wealthy widows who had never seen a black cat let alone cast a spell seemed not to bother him) Hopkins was fond of a bit of bribery and corruption and would rid a village of its witches for a large bag of silver.

Just name the old lady you wanted cast out and there Hopkins would be, quick as a sulphurous flash, administering his famous ‘Float Test’.

The test required that the poor woman accused of witchcraft be hurled into the nearest deep river.

If she floated then she was a witch and executed, if she sank and drowned she was innocent but unfortunately dead (And I thought my driving test was bad).

People were very simple then and did not think to question Hopkins’ reasoning on this matter. However, being the good puritan that he was Hopkins chose the title for its simplicity.

Witch Finder, it does what it says on the tin, unlike many of today’s job titles such as the following: Executive Information Manager (Librarian) Executive Information Officer (Assistant Librarian) Executive Information sanitation Officer (Cleans the Library).

Of course I jest (although the first is real) but you get the idea. Many employees believe (allegedly) that a good job title is more important than salary and words like executive or manager can enhance self esteem without the company having to enhance pay and conditions.

In light of this desire to inflate one’s worth by inflating one’s title I have decided to re-title the jobs carried out by some of my friends and family, thus my Uncle Ray is now a Cuboids Placement Facilitator (Bricklayer), my friend Ian is a Suspension of Disbelief Enhancer (actor) and I am now a Useless Paperwork Coordinator (Teacher).

suzanne-mannersSo, if Matthew Hopkins the Preacher’s son can call himself Witch Finder General then I am well within my rights to redefine myself as Mrs George Clooney (and fully expect to be granted all benefits offered by the title) failing that I shall call myself a Self Made Millionaire.

Or doesn’t it work like that?

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