The inscription above the door at Leiden University…
I never studied at Leiden. – I was enrolled at the University Of Western Australia and never studied there. At least never studied hard enough. I did complete the course I set out upon and was given a bachelor’s degree, but then I got married later that same year and they never sent me a married man’s replacement. I hope I do not have to sit more exams to get one…
My connection to higher learning is tenuous at present – at least to institutions of it. My daughter works in the accounting office of another university and frequently brings home sacks of ducats and doubloons that the highwaymen and pirates of the academic staff have seized from the hapless undergraduates. We store them under the bed until they can be buried in the pine forests. The sacks, not the undergraduates.
And I also get a regular alumni screed from the WA University telling me of the ceremonies and awards that the academic staff have arranged for themselves. I am invited to become a member of what may be a secret and holy order ( but probably isn’t ) and they never fail to remind me that contributions and legacies are well-received.
The magazine is addressed to me as Dr. Stein…but I am not entitled to call myself thus. It was a commercial honorific seized upon in the 1990’s by the WA Dental Association in an effort to be posh. All of a sudden everyone was a Doctor.
Not me. I trained under a British system of education and registration and not a North American or continental one. As I was a surgeon – a man who depended upon knives, retractors, and forceps instead of pills and a prescription pad – I kept the title Mr. And it came in very handy when it came time to retire from that profession as I did not have to carry an entail of unwanted consultation with me.
The very odd thing about the University addressing me by the title ” Dr. ” is they know full well that I carry only a BDSc…and they are extremely jealous of the academics in their ranks who bear a full doctorate. Perhaps if I fail to give them money…as I have failed to do in the last 50 years…they will downgrade me to my proper position and salutation:
” Hey, You! ”