Thursday, 4 July 2013

Status

A couple of years ago my more famous brother Jack was given a gong by Mrs Windsor Next Door.  They give you a tweet-short citation to explain to the world why you've been given a medal ("for cleaning the royal privy", "for services to horse-coping", or more genuinely "Ministerial Adviser on Adoption: for services to vulnerable people").  The Brother's citation was "for services to broadcasting" to which he had devoted about 35 years of his life - supplying the essential infrastructure, insisting on relentlessly high standards, keeping the shows on the road. It was a particular satisfaction for him to achieve exactly the same gong-status as his/my/our father who had also spent 35 years of his life in service.  In The Da's case, not below stairs at Downton Abbey, but tooling around the world in the ships and shore-establishments of the Royal Navy.

I've more or less promised myself to go up to Dublin every Thursday through the Summer, just like I used to do when I worked there.  It puts a regular stitch in the fabric of my space-time continuum.  Today was especially significant because I got back my old identity at The University which had been axed shortly after they stopped paying me (and quite right too).  But my boss, who has recently mid-wifed a new MSc in Immunology, thought it would be good to secure Adjunct Lecturer status for some of the external contributors to that course including me.  So I believe I am now an Adjunct Lecturer at my Alma Mater (cash value nil) as well as being Assistant Lecturer at The Institute (cash value enough to exist on).

I was especially chuffed because my old PhD mentor was an Adjunct Professor at Boston University - he was too detached to have retained a normal job anywhere but had been given an Adjunct affiliation, through the machinations of the late lamented Lynn Margulis.  It's nice to finally achieve the same status as your own father.  So many young men spend decades making waves trying to be different from their Old Man, so when they finally stop their splashing and thrashing they realise that the water is warm for both generations.  A friend of a friend of mine from grad school was a desperate long-hair-and-dirty-shoes sort of rebel; always taking le chemin outr√© as a guitarist and free-lance photographer.  Within months of his father the banker dying, the angry young man had cut his hair, acquired a handful of suits and was working his way up Wall Street.  At least nobody had to die for my transformation.

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